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Tribal Chairman Jim Boyd dies at 60


Jim Boyd playing at the Festival of America at Grand Coulee Dam, July 4, 2009. – file photo

Jim Boyd, leader of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation and renowned musician and recording artist, died unexpectedly last week at the age of 60.

"This is a very, very sad day for the Colville Tribes," said Vice Chairman of the Colville Business Council Michael Marchand. "One of our most respected leaders and talented tribal members is no longer among us. The sheer enormity of our loss has not set in yet, and I doubt that it will for quite some time."

Boyd, who won seven Native American Music Awards & Associations awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, was a well-spoken and thoughtful man who donned the mantle of the chairmanship of the Colville Business Council in 2014.

For a self-described introvert, the public role can be difficult, as he described in a self-produced music video on YouTube last March, but one he faced most of his life, first as a performer and artist, then as a tribal leader.

"He was fine being a citizen, but when people wanted him to run and serve, he did it out of love," John Sirois, a former council member told The Spokesman Review. "He honored that request from elders and from people in his family."

"Jim was a guy that was very focused and intelligent, a great storyteller," Marchand said. "He lived life to the fullest and his good nature and sense of humor were infectious."

The CBC closed all tribal business Tuesday, the day of his funeral.

"In reflection of our Honorable Chairman and in acknowledgement of our great loss, the Colville Business Council offers this thought: it is not how long a man lives, but how deep that life is," the council told employees in a statement.

The news was spread in national media. Indian Country Today and NBC news reported it.

"Chairman Boyd will be missed by all in Indian Country," the Suquamish Tribe posted on Facebook.

"I loved performing with him...a true gentlemen...and a gentle giant," said Steve Daley, an old friend who played with Boyd in a band called "Beethoven" in the 1980s. Daley contacted The Star after learning of Boyd's death. "I'm sorry he is gone, but I was blessed to be counted among his friends."

Boyd was a member of the Lakes people, and in a powerful song about his homeland he expressed what perhaps was his ultimate hope for the future:

"I feel strength among my people. As their blood runs strong through me, and my children have their children, we'll be proud of who they'll be." - Jim Boyd, "Inchelium"

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