The Pacific Northwest was one of the most populated and prosperous regions for Native Americans before the coming of the white man. By the mid-1800s, measles and smallpox decimated the Indian population, and the remaining tribes were forced to give up their ancestral lands. Vine Deloria Jr., named one of the most influential religious thinkers in the world, tells the story of these tribes' fight for survival, one that continues today.
Billy Frank Jr. was the first recipient of "Indian Country Today"'s American Indian Visionary Award.
Steve Pavlik is a professor of Native American studies at Northwest Indian College.