Billy Frank Jr to replace Whitman statue in Washington DC

April 26th, 2021 by Ken

Billy Frank Jr. the late activist for native American rights has received many honors since he passed away, including naming the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge after him.  But, now he has been awarded with another significant honor.  A statue of him will soon be heading to Washington DC to join other statues of outstanding Americans in the National Statuary Hall in the nation’s capitol.

Each state has the ability to name two persons of prominence to represent their state in the hall.  Frank will join Mother Joseph who was the second person of note honored by Washington State.

But, for one statue to join means that one statue must leave.  Leaving will be Marcus Whitman, the missionary who along with his wife Narcissa administered God and medicine to the Cayuse Indians in Eastern Washington.  The City of Whitman and Whitman college are named in his honor.

Cynics of the move would say this is just another example of replacing White males with someone else.  Supporters of enshrining Billy Frank Jr. in a place in Washington DC says it is perfectly appropriate given his struggles to obtain fishing rights for tribal members as well as for his service in the Korean War.  Supporters also point out that Frank’s efforts in modern times are just as significant as Whitman’s in the 1840’s.

The Whitmans and 11 others were murdered by the Cayuse when they were blamed for a case of measles which swept through the tribe and killed many tribal members.

Some say its interesting that the statue of a white man who was killed by native Americans is being replaced by another native American.

I think it’s perfectly appropriate to replace statues when the time has come that someone else of stature comes along.  I just hope this isn’t another case of trying to replace history.

Posted in Government, History, The Real News

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