Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Gazillionth Letter To The Tacoma News Tribune

Re: “Billy Frank Jr. – activist, icon, environmental giant” (editorial, 5-6).

The editorial board employed a curious metaphor in a deeply moving tribute celebrating Nisqually elder and lifelong activist Billy Frank Jr.

You mention that he is worthy of having his face engraved in stone, like that of Mount Rushmore – a monument carved against Native American wishes into Native American rock. You can probably see where I am going with this, making me wonder all the more how the editors missed it.

Mount Rushmore is a potent reminder that America is a stolen continent made possible only through waves of immigrant settlers enacting their genocidal policies against its original inhabitants. Many people call it a monument to genocide, so I am wagering that this was just an unfortunate choice of figurative language and not a backhanded compliment aimed at a man you graciously call “large-souled.”

One thing is certain, though: The Pacific Northwest, as you conclude, “is a poorer place for his death, but a far richer one for his life.”

(Printed 4/7/2014)

Billy Frank Jr.

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