The Charlie Hill Spirit Award to be Presented to Comedian, Stage, Television Star and Restaurant Entrepreneur George Lopez

Las Vegas, NV – April 17, 2018 –National Indian Gaming Association Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr. and the family of the late Charlie Hill will honor comedian, stage, television star and restaurant entrepreneur George Lopez with the Charlie Hill Spirit Award at the Indian Gaming 2018 Tradeshow and Convention to be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 17 – 20, 2018.

The Charlie Hill Spirit Award, recognizes the positive impacts an individual has made in the entertainment industry and will be presented to Lopez at the Tradeshow Ribbon Cutting event on April 19, 2018, at 10:00 am at the LVCC.

The award is termed a “spirit” award and is in honor of the outstanding work and commitment to furthering awareness of the need for diversity in the industry and dispelling myths and stories told from a non-minority point of view, which was one of the late comedian’s greatest passions. As a stand-up comedian Mr. Hill’s quick wit, humor, and Native wisdom touched all of our spirits and reminded us that we could change the world one laugh at a time.

NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr., said, “Our show is about celebrating the success of Indian gaming, and it is also our opportunity to honor our gaming partners. George Lopez understands and embraces the success of Indian country, and we are honored to acknowledge his support of our industry.” 

“Besides his excellent entertainment career, Lopez has expanded as an entrepreneur providing restaurant venues in Indian Gaming Casinos,” Stevens added.

George Lopez’s multi-faceted career encompasses television, film, standup comedy and late-night television and in 2015, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians and the legendary George Lopez joined forces to create Chingon Kitchen, a restaurant serving up exceptional Mexican cuisine at the San Manuel Casino.

Lopez is currently on his standup comedy tour, The Comedy Get Down, with Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, and Cedric the Entertainer in arenas across the country. The comedians recently debuted their BET scripted comedy series based on their tour.

Lopez has been featured in three HBO specials, The Wall in August 2017, Tall, Dark and Chicano, which was nominated for a GRAMMY in the category of Best Comedy Album, and America's Mexican in 2007. In 2006, Lopez received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, Time named him one of the 25 Most Influential Hispanics in America, and the Harris Poll named him one of the Top Ten Favorite Television Personalities. 

The late Charlie Hill was a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, who moved on to the Spirit World on December 30, 2013, after a long battle with lymphoma. He was an internationally renowned stand- up comedian, actor, and writer. Charlie’s prestigious entertainment career included movies such as the “Reel Injun,” and “The Big Show.” He also made his TV debut on The Richard Pryor Show in the 1970s and has been on Late Night with David Letterman and The Tonight Show.

In the five years that we have awarded the Charlie Hill Spirit Award, NIGA, and the family has recognized other notable leaders such as the late Floyd Westerman through his son Richard Tall Bear Westerman, Keith Secola and Buffy Saint Marie and NIGA Chairman Ernie Stevens, Jr and culminating this year with George Lopez.