2nd annual SOS charity slot tournament raises $15,000 for Native youth

May 15, 2018

Samantha Urban, CEO of Urban Translations, may have been the official champion of the Second Annual Charity Slot Tournament to benefit the Spirit of Sovereignty, but the ultimate winners are the deserving Native American students who will receive tribal college scholarships as a result. The event was held April 20 during the 2018 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in Las Vegas. It was hosted by National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and his special guest, former NBA All-Star A.C. Green in partnership with NIGA associate member Everi.

The tournament winners were able to donate their prizes to their choice of tribal college scholarships or reservation-based programs serving Native youth. Urban designated her $6,000 in winnings to provide scholarships. Second-place finisher Joe Whitman from the Soboba Band of San Luiseno Indians donated $5,000 to serve Native youth in Southern California. Third-place winner Cris Stainbrook of the Indian Land Tenure Foundation donated $3,000 to a Native youth lacrosse program in South Dakota. “We thank everyone who participated,” said Spirit of Sovereignty coordinator David Garelick, “with a special thank you to Chairman Stevens, his staff, and the people at Everi, who were instrumental in ensuring the success of the event.”

This year’s participants included: NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., and his special guest former NBA All-Star A.C. Green (both sponsored by Klas Robinson); Andrew Cardno, VizExplorer; Duane R. Chapman, Lake of the Torches Resort & Casino (sponsored by TFA Capital Partners); Ed Peters, Everi Holdings; Joe Whitman, Soboba Band of San Luiseno Indians; Kelli Weaver, American Checked (on behalf of sponsor AGEM); Matt Robinson, Klas Robinson; Paul Gordan, Rymax Marketing Services; Rjay Brunkow, Indian Land Capital Company; Russell Witt, Ainsworth Game Technology; Samantha Urban, Urban Translations; Cris Stainbrook, Indian Land Tenure Foundation; David Garelick, Indian Land Tenure Foundation. Additional support was provided by the 29 Palms Band of Mission Indians.

Photo: Former NBA All-Star A.C. Green, tournament winner Samantha Urban of Urban Translations, and NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. (left to right)


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.


Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament raises $13,000 for Spirit of Sovereignty

April 17, 2017

Native American students and youth were the real winners April 13 as participants in the Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament in San Diego raised $13,000 for the Spirit of Sovereignty. National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Chairman Ernest Stevens, Jr. hosted the event during the 2017 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in partnership with NIGA associate member Everi.

“It was a terrific event,” said Spirit of Sovereignty coordinator David Garelick. “The 13 players were so enthusiastic and the crowd that gathered to watch was impressive. We can’t thank everyone enough for participating.”

The top three finishers in the Tournament were able to donate $8,000, $3,000 and $2,000 respectively to their choice of tribal college or reservation-based program serving Native youth. “Chairman Stevens and his staff were instrumental in the success of the event, along with the great people at Everi and Urban Expositions,” Garelick said. “The funds raised will help many more young people in Indian Country achieve their dreams.”


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.


New Spirit of Sovereignty website

April 3, 2017

There are countless obstacles standing in the way of a college degree for young Native American students, but that hasn’t stopped dozens of ambitious Indian youth from achieving great things with help from caring individuals and corporations doing business in Indian Country. Their successes are now available online at, the new website of the Spirit of Sovereignty. “There are so many great stories about students who have received the scholarships,” said David Garelick, who coordinates the Spirit of Sovereignty program. “It’s heartwarming to read about these amazing students and the things they are accomplishing. The new website will definitely help spread the word about how Spirit of Sovereignty is helping develop the next generation of American Indian leaders.”

Upcoming Event - 05/31/2017

May is graduation month for many Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipients

May is an important month for Native American students at 37 tribal colleges, as new graduates receive their diplomas at commencement ceremonies across Indian Country. Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipient Kia Timber is among those expected to graduate this spring from Chief Dull Knife College in Lame Deer, Mont., where she is student body president. Kia is pursuing an associate’s degree in science, and plans to go on to a four-year university in Montana. Congratulations to all of the Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipients, and thank you to the many generous supporters who make it possible for American Indian students to achieve their dreams of higher education.

Read more about Kia and other Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipients.


Support our kids on Cyber Monday

November 28, 2016

It’s Cyber Monday and millions of people are online buying gifts for friends and family. Have you got a minute to give one more gift? Your contribution to today to the Spirit of Sovereignty will brighten the hearts of Native children in Indian Country this holiday season. Each year, Spirit of Sovereignty partners with programs on Indian reservations to bring holiday cheer to hundreds of children though gifts of toys, food and clothing These programs serve tribes in the Upper Great Plains where the poverty rate is three times higher than the national average and unemployment hovers near 90 percent.

The Cheyenne River (South Dakota) Youth Project’s Annual Christmas Toy Drive is one example of these terrific family service programs. Living where the challenges of brutal winters and humble holiday celebrations are the norm, families at Cheyenne River struggle to buy their children the basics, and holiday gifts are a luxury most cannot afford. Last year, more than 1,500 children received wrapped gifts and other holiday treats. With your help, we can put smiles on the faces of many more deserving children in 2016.

Make a donation now