Who is Hank Adams? Google doodle honors the lifestyle of Native American rights activist

Who is Hank Adams? Google doodle honors the lifestyle of Native American rights activist

This doodle celebrates the 81st birthday of Hank Adams, a Native American rights activist known as a successful strategist, tactician, and negotiator. Starting in 1960, he helped resolve several important disputes between Native Americans and state and federal officials.

Adams was born on May 16, 1943 to an Assiniboine family on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana. His place of birth was Wolf Point, Montana, also known as Poverty Flats. His father, Lewis Adams, was a bronc and bull rider, and his mother, Jesse, was a rodeo rider and equestrian athlete who divorced when he was young.

His family moved to Washington state near the end of World War II. They settled in Tahola, Washington, part of the Quinault Indian Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula. Growing up, Adams regularly fished and worked as a fruit and vegetable picker on a nearby farm, where he developed a strong work ethic.

Adams attended the University of Washington for two years from 1961 to 1963. During his high school years, he attended the Quinault Reservation to combat the suicide epidemic.

Adams joined the National Indian Youth Council (NIYC) in 1963. He worked with actor Marlon Brando from 1963 when he worked as a director of special projects until 1967, who later became involved in the Indian Rights Movement and supported demonstrators at several events.

In 1964 and 1965, Adams served as research secretary for the National Congress of American Indians. In April 1964, he refused to be drafted into the military unless the federal government respected traditional Indian treaty rights. In 1968, Adams became president of the American Indian Survival Association (SAIA).

In 1968 and 1972, Adams sought the Republican nomination for Congress from Washington’s 3rd Congressional District. He lost the election but supported the Republican candidate.

In 1971, Adams wrote a 15-point proposal for national change aimed at establishing a “system of bilateral relations between Indian tribes and the federal government.” This became the basis for his 20-point proposal, which he proposed by AIM and other organizations during the “Road to Broken Treaties” event held in Washington, D.C., in 1972. Submitted to federal officials.

Adams worked to enforce and protect Native Americans’ fishing and hunting rights on their traditional lands without government restrictions. He promoted change through protests and legal challenges. The decision in United States v. Washington (1974), known as the Bolt decision, was upheld by the United States Supreme Court (1979) and reaffirmed the fishing rights of treaty states of native peoples in ceded territory. This led the tribes to jointly manage salmon and other seafood resources with the state of Washington and set aside a portion of the annual harvest for themselves.

Adams participated in the American Indian Movement, including occupying the Department of the Interior building in Washington, DC. This was the case in 1972 and the 71-day stalemate after the Wounded Knee incident in 1973. In both cases, Adams played a key role in negotiating peace solutions to volatile situations. He continued to advocate for tribal sovereignty and worked with tribes to restore the role of tribal elders. In 2006, he received the American Indian Visionary Award from Indian Country Today.

Adams was a member of the Frank’s Landing Indian Community of the Nisqually Tribe. He passed away on December 21, 2020 in Olympia, Washington.

Happy Birthday, Hank Adams !!

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