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From left, Joel Boyd, Tony Louie, James Pakootas, Daniel Nanamkin and Cody Miller celebrate “Break These Chains” winning a “Nammy” award for best rap hip hop video Nov. 2 at the 19th Annual Native American Music Awards.

SPOKANE — James Pakootas of the Colville Confederated Tribes has brought home a national award for his music video “Break These Chains.”

Pakootas’ video, featuring fellow tribal members Tony Louie and Daniel Nanamkin, won Best Rap Hip Hop Music Video Nov. 2 at the 19th Annual Native American Music Awards in New York. The video, which can be found at, is about overcoming obstacles, featuring powerful lyrics paired with visuals to show how the native culture provides a pathway to healing.

The “Nammy Award” was presented by Cody Miller of Unity Apparel, and Joel Boyd, Colville Tribal Council chairman and son of the late Jim Boyd, who was awarded The Lifetime Achievement Award after his passing.

Through his music, speaking and teaching, Pakootas shares his own experience with childhood abuse and abandonment, drug and alcohol addiction, criminal activity that landed him in and out of jails and a lengthy stay in a federal prison cell, and his most recent trauma, surviving a drunk-driving accident that paralyzed his right arm.

His mission is to educate, uplift and inspire the world around him. Pakootas recently received the First People’s Fund Artist in Business Leadership Fellowship and the National Performance Network Mentorship Initiative, which sparked the formation of DCM Collective, a recording studio, and New Age Warriors LLC, which works to influence youth through media, arts and culture.

He coordinates events, delivers keynote speeches, trains emerging artists, facilitates workshops and mentors youth.

Early stages of conversation have begun for a youth-based video project, as well as a Jim Boyd Tribute Concert with Keith Secola to be performed for the Colville Reservation.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151