Where the Salmon Run

The Life and Legacy of Bill Frank Jr.

Trova Heffernan

  • Published: 2012. Paperback 2013
  • Subject Listing: Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir; Native American and Indigenous Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 328 pp., 50 illus., 6 x 9 in.
  • Published with: The Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project
  • Contents

Billy Frank Jr. was an early participant in the fight for tribal fishing rights during the 1960s. Roughed up, belittled, and handcuffed on the riverbank, he emerged as one of the most influential Northwest Indians in modern history. His efforts helped bring about the 1974 ruling by Federal Judge George H. Boldt affirming Northwest tribal fishing rights and allocating half the harvestable catch to them. Today, he continues to support Indian country and people by working to protect salmon and restore the environment.

Where the Salmon Run tells the life story of Billy Frank Jr., from his father's influential tales, through the difficult and contentious days of the Fish Wars, to today. Based on extensive interviews with Billy, his family, close advisors, as well as political allies and former foes, and the holdings of Washington State's cultural institutions, we learn about the man behind the legend, and the people who helped him along the way.
Trova Heffernan is director of the Legacy Project and the creative director of the Heritage Center in the Washington State Office of the Secretary of State.

"I hope this book finds a place in every classroom and library in Washington State. The conflicts over Indian treaty rights produced a true warrior/statesman in the person of Billy Frank Jr., who endured personal tragedies and setbacks that would have destroyed most of us."
-Tom Keefe, former legislative director for Senator Warren Magnuson

"This is the fascinating story of the life of my dear friend, Billy Frank, who is one of the first people I met from Indian Country. He is recognized nationally as an outstanding Indian leader. Billy is a warrior - and continues to fight for the preservation of the salmon."
-Senator Daniel K. Inouye


1. Spirit of the Father
2. "I Live Here!"
3. The Survivor
4. Surveillance
5. Renegades
6. Canoes and Clashes
7. As Long as the Rivers Run
8. Takeovers
9. The Shelf Life of Treaties
10. Storm
11. The Politics of Salmon
12. Bridge Builder
13. Resilience
14. The Negotiator
15. Clear Creek Hatchery
16. Submerged
17. The Tough Guy
18. "You were always there for me"
19. The Catalyst
20. Operation Chainsmoker
21. Hard Truths
22. Dreams and Legacies

Billy Frank Jr. Family Tree
Source Notes
Select Bibliography

"Heffernan's conversational writing style moves readers fluidly from the distant past through the turbulent times of the 1960s and the 1970s to the calmer waters of the present."
-Andrew H. Fisher, Oregon Historical Quarterly, Summer 2013

"The photographs and personal stories alone make it worth an interested reader's time."
-Steven M. Fountain, H-Net, January 2013

"Trova has done a good job getting the reader into the narrative flow of Frank's admirable life; she's not afraid of quoting people who pull no punches."
-Mike Dillon, City Living, July 2012

"Heffernan talked to all the right people to write this book, from fellow Indian rights warrior Hank Adams to Franks's son, Willie Frank III . . . Heffernan caught up with Frank six times for face-to-face interviews filled with candor, insight and patchwork quotes only Frank could knit together."
-John Dodge, The Olympian, June 2012

"Heffernan's biography of Billy Frank, Jr., is a lively and recommended addition to the growing scholarship on Native American salmon fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest and joins Charles Wilkinson's Messages from Frank's Landing (2000) as one of the key books on Frank and his widespread influence....Frank and his allies' voices shine throughout the book, and their vivid anecdotes and vibrant quotations make for a very compelling history."
-Shawn Bailey, Pacific Northwest Quarterly