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HOME > > 2024 Native American Award of Achievement winners announced

2024 Native American Award of Achievement winners announced

17 April 2024

(PRESS RELEASE) -- Imagine This proudly announces the recipients of the 2024 Annual Native American Award of Achievement: Melinda Coffin, CEO of Soaring Eagle Gaming, and Charles Montague, CEO of Quechan and Paradise Casinos.

Melinda Coffin: A Trailblazer in Tribal Gaming

Melinda Coffin, recognized with the Native American Woman of the Year Award, serves as the CEO of Soaring Eagle Gaming in Michigan. Overseeing two properties and an online gaming platform in Michigan, Melinda is the first Tribal Member to hold this position for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe. Under her leadership, Soaring Eagle Gaming launched sports betting and online gaming in 2022, including a multiyear national partnership with the Detroit Lions. Soaring Eagle Gaming chose to launch its own platform instead of selling its license, a milestone achievement.

Melinda also facilitated the opening of five new dining franchises within Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort, including Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy! Melinda is a staunch supporter of the Gift of Life and organ donation, having received three kidney transplants herself. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, a Masters of Business Administration, and has completed the Executive Development Program through the University Las Vegas Nevada. Melinda is deeply involved in her community, serving on the Board of Directors for several organizations, and her spirit name is “Makoons Kwe,” meaning “Little Bear Woman,” reflecting her role as a healer and protector of her Tribe.

Charles Montague: A Visionary Leader in Tribal Gaming

Receiving the Native American Man of the Year Award, Charles Montague has significantly shaped the tribal gaming industry since his start in 1997. As the first Quechan tribal member to become General Manager of Casino Operations, Charles played a pivotal role in key negotiations and the development of the Quechan Casino Resort. His leadership extended through various roles, contributing to substantial growth and success. A military veteran with commendable service in the United States Air Force and Coast Guard, Charles is celebrated for his dedication, strategic foresight, and commitment to enhancing his tribe's prosperity and well-being.

In honor of their exceptional contributions, Imagine This has works alongside Indian Gaming Association and donated $10,000 on behalf of each awardee to a charity of their choice, supporting their ongoing commitment to community service and cultural preservation.

Imagine This recognizes and honors outstanding contributions to the Native American community, particularly in the gaming industry, through its Annual Native American Award of Achievement. This award celebrates the leadership, innovation, and commitment of individuals who play pivotal roles in their communities.


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