Spirit of Sovereignty slot tournament raises $24,000 for Native children and youth

Generosity and experience win the prize. Paul Gordon, Rymax Vice-President of Sales, has played in all five Spirit of Sovereignty Slot Tournaments, and this year he placed first in the annual high-energy race of the reels. The Tournament was held March 29 during the 2023 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego, It was hosted by Indian Gaming Association (IGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. in partnership with IGT. Contestants competed on IGT’s Cleopatra TournXtreme® slot game.
The Spirit of Sovereignty will direct the winnings of the top three finishers to tribal college scholarships and reservation-based youth programming. Legendary KISS band member Gene Simmons played on behalf of Chairman Stevens and finished in second place, making the Chairman very happy. Douglas Vogelei, Senior Vice President of Casino Operations at Sycuan Casino came in third. In addition, IGT made another generous donation of $10,000 in support of tribal college scholarships. (continued below)


Photo left to right: IGT Chief Operating Officer Nick Khin; IGT Vice President of Global Business Development Knute Knudson; IGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr.; Legendary KISS band member Gene Simmons; Spirit of Sovereignty Liaison David Garelick; and Global Gaming Chief Executive Officer Renato Ascoli. (Photo courtesy of IGT)


Spirit of Sovereignty Slot Tournament

“The turnout was incredible! Each year exceeds our expectations and we look forward to building on the momentum at the next show,” said Spirit of Sovereignty Liaison David Garelick. “We so appreciate the generosity of our players and sponsors. We are grateful to all who participated – newcomers and multi-year supporters like Paul Gordon alike – but we need to give special thanks to Chairman Stevens and our friends at IGT, who have been so generously supportive of the Spirit of Sovereignty. We also want to thank the good folks at Clarion Events for their marketing and logistics assistance.” 


Photo: Legendary KISS band member Gene Simmons (left) played in the Spirit of Sovereignty Slot Tournament on behalf of Indian Gaming Association (IGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. (Photo courtesy of IGT)


Native Childrens Holiday Program brought joy to more than 1,700 children in December

Jan. 15, 2019

Meeting the basic needs of our families, communities, and tribes is of paramount importance in Indian Country. We also want our kids to experience opportunities for growth, happiness and joy just like other children. The Native Children’s Holiday Program, administered by ILTF through the Spirit of Sovereignty, offers supporters a unique opportunity to help make the holidays special for Indian children who live in some of our most challenged communities. Thanks to the generosity of individual and corporate contributors, more than 1,700 thankful children received gifts in December.

If you would like to support this important program please make a contribution today at


Spirit of Sovereignty brings Christmas joy to children at Cheyenne River

January 18, 2018

Thanks to the support of generous donors to the Spirit of Sovereignty Native Children’s Holiday Program, more than 1,500 children and teens on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota received toys and gifts this Christmas. The Spirit of Sovereignty partners with programs working on reservations in the Dakotas, including the Cheyenne River Youth Project’s Annual Christmas Toy Drive, to bring holiday cheer to Indian children and families.


Spirit of Sovereignty supports summer camp fun for Soboba families

Oct. 6, 2017

Funds raised at the Spirit of Sovereignty Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament in April were put to good use in Southern California this summer at the third annual Native Youth Gathering summer camp. More than 80 kids attended, including 18 from the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Summer Youth Academy, which was supported by tournament proceeds. The event was open to students ages 12 to 19, and was coordinated by the Tribal Education Alliance. The kids participated in a variety of fun activities while learning about their culture. The Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament Raised $13,000 in 2017.


Scholarship winner named Haskell University Student of the Year

March 8, 2017

Senior Samantha Milk, a Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship winner in 2016, has been selected as the 2017 Haskell Indian Nations University Student of the Year. Milk, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in Pine Ridge, S.D. is majoring in Environmental Science. In addition to her excellent academic resume, Milk has participated in numerous clubs and activities on the Haskell campus, including Pte Oyate Club, and coordination of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Kansas Water Science Center event at Haskell. Samantha was a keynote speaker for “Lawrence Stands with Standing Rock,” and has won many honors, awards and scholarships. Samantha will speak May 19 at Haskell’s commencement ceremony.

Read more about Samantha on our Success Stories page.


Nonprofit disclosure

Certain states require written disclosures for nonprofit organizations soliciting contributions. Individual state disclosures are as follows. Florida: A copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free, within the state, 1-800-435-7352 (800-HELP-FLA), or visiting Registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state. Florida Registration #CH21932 Georgia: A full and fair description of our programs and our financial statement summary is available upon request at our office and phone number indicated above. Maryland: For the cost of copies and postage, from the Office of the Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401. Mississippi: The official registration and financial information of ILTF may be obtained from the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office by calling 1-888-236-6167. Registration by the Secretary of State does not imply endorsement. Nevada: Contributions may be tax deductible pursuant to the provisions of sec. 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 26 U.S.C. ¤170(c). New Jersey: Information filed with the attorney general concerning this charitable solicitation and the percentage of contributions received by the charity during the last reporting period that were dedicated to the charitable purpose may be obtained from the attorney general of the state of New Jersey by calling (973) 504-6215 and is available on the Internet at Registration with the attorney general does not imply endorsement. New York: Upon request, from the Attorney General Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271. North Carolina: Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 1-919-814-5400. The license is not an endorsement by the state. Pennsylvania: The official registration and financial information of ILTF may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Virginia: From the State Office of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs, P.O. Box 1163, Richmond, VA 23218. Washington: From the Secretary of State at 1-800-332-4483 or West Virginia: West Virginia residents may obtain a summary of the registration and financial documents from the Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, WV 25305. Wisconsin: A financial statement of the charitable organization disclosing assets, liabilities, fund balances, revenue and expenses for the preceding fiscal year will be provided to any person upon request. Registration with a state agency does not constitute or imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by that state.