‘Most important Indian’ Hank Adams dies

FILE - In this May 5, 1973 file photo Hank Adams, right, permanent representative of the Indians Trial of Broken Treaties presents letter from the White House to traditional Sioux Chief Frank Fools Crow, left, at border of Pine Ridge Reservation in Scenic,. S.D.

Hank Adams, one of Indian Country’s most prolific thinkers and strategists, has died at age 77.

Adams was called the “most important Indian” by influential Native American rights advocate and author Vine Deloria Jr., because he was involved with nearly every major event in American Indian history from the 1960s forward.

He was perhaps best known for his work to secure treaty rights, particularly during the Northwest “fish wars” of the 1960s and ’70s.

Henry “Hank” Adams, Assiniboine-Sioux, died Dec. 21 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia, Washington, according to the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“Hank’s a genius. He knows things we don’t know. He sees things we don’t see,” attorney Susan Hvalsoe Komori said when Adams was awarded the 2006 American Indian Visionary Award by Indian Country Today.

“Adams was always the guy under the radar, working on all kinds of things,” said the late Billy Frank Jr., Nisqually and chairman of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.


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