Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

  Top Story

Getting to know you

S&K Gaming brings tribal elders together for special luncheons
By Alyssa Kelly
Char-Koosta News

S&K Gaming elders' luncheons demonstrate the hospitality service provided by KwaTaqNuk and The Shadow staff. (Alyssa Kelly photo)S&K Gaming elders' luncheons demonstrate the hospitality service provided by KwaTaqNuk and The Shadow staff. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

POLSON — It took some convincing from her sister but at age 65, Cecille “Ceil” Antoine experienced her first boat ride. She was careful to avoid the railing but the lake breeze brushed across her face all the same from her seat on the deck. “I’m glad that I came,” she said.

Antoine was one of 100 guests to attend S&K Gaming’s Elder’s Luncheon last week, which included a meal of menudo, fry-bread, and huckleberry cheesecake. The event also included lake cruises on the 148-passenger boat “The Shadow.”

KwaTaqNuk Resort general manager Debra Louie-McGee gifts tribal elder Francis Stanger with a new beaded medallion. “We wanted to thank Francis for sharing a prayer for our event today,” she says. (Alyssa Kelly photo)KwaTaqNuk Resort general manager Debra Louie-McGee gifts tribal elder Francis Stanger with a new beaded medallion. “We wanted to thank Francis for sharing a prayer for our event today,” she says. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Fourth of its kind, organizer Jessie McDonald said the quarterly luncheons aim to better acquaint the elder community with tribal gaming operations and its staff. “We’ve gotten feedback from the elderly community about not really understanding our work here at S&K Gaming,” McDonald said. “These luncheons give us an opportunity to showcase what we do, introduce who we are, and inform them about what we have planned for the future.”

The Elder’s Luncheons are held to better acquaint the elder community with S&K Gaming operation and its staff. The elders were treated to menudo, fry bread, and huckleberry pie. (Alyssa Kelly photo)The Elder’s Luncheons are held to better acquaint the elder community with S&K Gaming operation and its staff. The elders were treated to menudo, fry bread, and huckleberry pie. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

One future plan discussed was the August 19 grand opening of The Big Arm Marina and Grill. The $2.6 million renovation to the lakeside property includes an RV campsite, upgrades to the restaurant, and a boat dock.

S&K Gaming CEO Bryon Miller established the luncheons and said it’s an opportunity to give back. “It’s an honor to serve the elders because they play such an important role in the tribal community,” he said. “We’re in the business of hospitality. What better example of hospitality than serving the elders?”

Aside from a meal, the elders were treated to lake tours on “The Shadow.” (Alyssa Kelly photo)Aside from a meal, the elders were treated to lake tours on “The Shadow.” (Alyssa Kelly photo)

McDonald said providing a setting of hospitality for the elder community has had an unexpected outcome. “There are three tribes on this reservation and we’re seeing these events are bringing elders from the Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d’Oreille tribes to one venue. They are able to visit each other,” she said.

Sister (L–R)  Cecille “Ceil” Antoine and Francine Antione eat a snack on the deck of “The Shadow.” Francine convinced Ceil to take her first boat ride. (Alyssa Kelly photo)Sister (L–R) Cecille “Ceil” Antoine and Francine Antione eat a snack on the deck of “The Shadow.” Francine convinced Ceil to take her first boat ride. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

Tribal elder Francine Antoine convinced her sister to attend the event and said she plans to do more outreach for future luncheons. “I think this is good for the elders because a lot of times people don’t get out of their house. We made memories today. Next time, I’m going to go to the elder home sites and bring more people. Not every elder has Facebook like I do so they may not know that this is going on,” she said.

Four siblings were reunited at the meal and took a photo together for the first time in several years. (Alyssa Kelly photo)Four siblings were reunited at the meal and took a photo together for the first time in several years. (Alyssa Kelly photo)

KwaTaqNuk general manager Debra Louie-McGee said S&K Gaming is looking into new ways to improve the luncheons. “We’ve had discussions about incorporating some activities like bingo. We really want the elders to enjoy themselves because these establishments belong to the people. If anyone has suggestions on improvement don’t hesitate to let us know,” she said.

The Elder’s Luncheons will be held each quarter and will take place in rotation at each of S&K Gaming’s locations. The next event will be held in October at Gray Wolf Casino. For more information contact S&K Gaming marketing director Joni Hay at (406) 883-3636, ext: 461.

Advertise with us!
Share
submit to reddit
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious