Yesterday evening, the model of Washington State’s newest addition to the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., was unveiled to a group of state lawmakers, tribal leaders, and activists in Olympia.
The full-scale, 9-foot-tall bronze statue is expected to be installed in the U.S. Capitol in 2025. A full-size bronze copy will also be erected in the Legislative Building in Olympia.
Not only will this statue be the first in the collection at the U.S. Capitol to depict a contemporary American Indian, but also, the first designed by a Chinese American artist. Seattle artist Haiying Wu designed the statue, stating that he wanted to capture Billy Frank Jr.’s “charming personality and unwavering spirit” in the design.
Since 2021, Washington Wild has worked to support the tribal-led initiative to have these statues erected by providing written testimony and coordinating action alerts to secure the funding needed from the state legislature. Representative Debra Lekanoff also shared her thoughts on how telling the story of Bill Frank Jr. is to tell the story of Washington State in our latest Conservation Voices piece in the Fall 2023 Newsletter.