Sitting Bull College student Kaylie Trottier has received a Spirit of Sovereignty award scholarship from the National Indian Gaming Association.
Kaylie, as profiled in the article “works two jobs and drives 100 miles round trip to attend Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The mother of two young children, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is working on a business degree. ‘I am pursuing higher education now,’ she said, ‘to show my girls how important education is.'” We at Sitting Bull College are glad she is! Congratulations, Kaylie.
Kaylie Trottier works two jobs and drives 100 miles round trip to attend Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota. The mother of two young children, an enrolled member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, is working on a business degree. “I am pursuing higher education now,” she said, “to show my girls how important education is.”
Kaylie’s road to success is made just a little easier thanks to the Spirit of Sovereignty, a National Indian Gaming Association-advised fund at the Indian Land Tenure Foundation that provides scholarships to students at 37 tribal colleges. Funds may be used for any education-related expenses, including but not limited to tuition, housing, childcare and travel. Spirit of Sovereignty also supports the Native Children’s Holiday Program, an annual campaign that provides toys, clothing and food for American Indian children.
These programs are funded by donations from NIGA member tribes and associate members and individual contributors. To help raise money for Spirit of Sovereignty, NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., is hosting the Tribal Leaders Charity Slot Tournament during the 2017 Indian Gaming Tradeshow and Convention in San Diego. The slot tournament is on Thursday, April 13 at 1 p.m. and is being co-hosted by Everi, a NIGA associate member, in booth 1344.
There are many compelling success stories among scholarship recipients. Jonathan Ammesmaki is at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Minnesota. The 27-year-old military veteran has two children and three foster children and wants to be a pharmacist. Joedes Emerson (Northern Cheyenne & Navajo) is studying science and math at Chief Dull Knife College in Montana and dreams of a career in engineering or aerospace. Samantha Milk (Oglala Lakota) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas where she is now working on a second degree in environmental science. As a single mother and full-time student, her finances can be tight and she appreciates the scholarship’s flexibility to pay for childcare and rent.
All slot tournament winnings will be donated to Spirit of Sovereignty. The first-place winner will have the opportunity to direct $10,000 to support scholarships at tribal colleges or programs serving Native youth on the reservation of their choice. The second-place finisher will donate $5,000 with $3,000 for third. This event is a way to help students like Jerry Racine (Blackfeet) who is working on a bachelor’s degree in education at Blackfeet Community College. “At this point, the most difficult thing is funding,” said Jerry, who is using the money to cover rent, gas and other expenses. “Education is important, but it comes with a cost.”
Kaylie Trottier, pictured with her daughters Rylie (left) and Paislee (center), is a Spirit of Sovereignty scholarship recipient who attends Sitting Bull College in North Dakota.
The National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA), established in 1985, is a non-profit organization of 184 Indian Nations with other non-voting associate members representing organizations and businesses engaged in Tribal Gaming. The common commitment and purpose of NIGA is to advance the lives of Indian peoples economically, socially and politically. NIGA operates as a clearinghouse and educational, legislative and public policy resource for tribes, policymakers and the public on Indian gaming issues and tribal community development. For more information visitwww.indiangaming.org.