You are here: Home Our Board About

About Us...


Vickie Hyke SteereMH Image1Willie and BillyVince Cooke STILL1Steve-Robinson-at-NisquallyHank and Bill IMG 1015 smour-team-peggen

THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY is a Washington State 501(c)(3) non‐profit organization. Board of Directors are Michael Harris (President and Registered Agent), Producer, Photojournalist and Wildlife Specialist, ABC News and others; Owner and Principal Creative for Baby Wild Films / Vince Cooke (Vice President), Environmental Consultant; Enrolled Member, Makah Tribe / Hank Adams, Executive Director, Survival of the American Indians Association; Enrolled Member, Sioux-Assiniboine / Victoria Hykes Steere, JD, Assistant Professor, Alaska Pacific University; Alaska Native Initiative; Institute for Village Resilience; Inupiaq Village of Unalakleet / Steve Robinson, Board of Directors, Center for Environmental Law & Policy; former Public Affairs Manager and Policy Analyst for the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission; Salish Kootenai / Peggen Frank, Executive Director, Salmon Defense; Enrolled Member, Northern Arapaho Tribe / Willie Frank III (Series Host and Co-Writer), Nisqually Tribal Council; Enrolled Member, Nisqually Tribe.

Advisory Board

THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY's esteemed Board of Advisors now includes U.S. Congressman Denny Heck, Prof. William H. Rodgers Jr., legendary Native rights activist Hank Adams, actor/activist Max Gail, and Theresa Sheldon, Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors, 2nd Vice-President for Affilated Tribes of Northwest Indians, and President of the University of Washington Native American Advisory Board.

(Below) Peggen Frank, receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom on behalf of her father-in-law, Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist Billy Frank, Jr.  Peggen serves on the Board of Directors of THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY.


Nisqually BillyFrank4atTreatyTree

About Billy Frank Jr.

Billy Frank, Jr.  (1931 - 2014)

Billy Frank, Jr. was a Native American environmental leader and treaty rights activist born in 1931 to Willie and Angeline Frank. A Nisqually tribal member, Frank was known specifically for his grassroots campaign for fishing rights on the tribe’s Nisqually River, located in Washington state in the 1960s and 1970s. He was also known for promoting cooperative management of natural resources. Tribes reserved the right to fish, hunt and gather shellfish in treaties with the U.S. government negotiated in the mid-1850s. But when tribal members tried to exercise those rights off-reservation they were arrested for fishing in violation of state law. Frank was arrested more than 50 times in the 1960s and 1970s because of his intense dedication to the treaty fishing rights cause. The tribal struggle was taken to the courts in U.S. v. Washington, and Judge George Boldt found in favor of the Indians in 1974. The Boldt Decision established the 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington as co-managers of the salmon resource with the State of Washington and re-affirmed the tribal right to half of the harvestable salmon returning to western Washington.

Frank was Chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, a position he held for more than 30 years. Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission The Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC) was created in 1975 to support the natural resource management activities of the 20 treaty Indian tribes in western Washington. The NWIFC is based in Olympia, Washington, with satellite offices in Forks and Mount Vernon. Frank chaired the NWIFC since 1981. The commission’s 65-person staff supports member tribes in efforts ranging from fish health to salmon management planning and habitat protection. The NWIFC also acts as a forum for tribes to address issues of mutual concern, and as a mechanism for tribes to speak with a unified voice in Washington, D.C.


Billy Frank, Jr. has held several different titles his career.
WHITE TIIC New21975-1988 - Fisheries Manager, Nisqually Indian Tribe.
1977, 1981–2014 - Chairman, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (NWIFC).
1977–2014 - Commissioner, Medicine Creek Treaty Area in the NWIFC.
1996-2003 - Member of Board of Trustees of The Evergreen State College.

WHITE TIIC New2Common Cause Award (1985), for his human rights efforts Washington State
Environmental Excellence Award (1987), on behalf of the State Ecological Commission and other tribes.
American Indian Distinguished Service Award (1989) Martin Luther King, Jr.
Distinguished Service Award (1990), for humanitarian achievement Albert Schweitzer Prize (1992), for humanitarianism
American Indian Visionary Award (2004), from Indian Country Today for “exceptional contributions to Indian American freedom.”
Northwest Regional Emmy Award (2010) from National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for "Outstanding On-Air Host or Moderator" 


Billy and Bill IMG 0838sm

(Left) CO-PLAINTIFFS... Boldt Warriors Prof. William H. Rodgers Jr. and Billy Frank Jr.  Bill Rodgers serves on the Board of Advisors of THIS IS INDIAN COUNTRY.
Senator Daniel Inouye Letter to Nobel Peace Prize Committee 012910 FULL