By WCCO-TV Staff

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As part of the Minnesota Indian Education Association (MIEA) 36th Annual Conference, students will be facing off to test their knowledge of the Dakota and Ojibwe languages.

On Wednesday, the three-day conference kicks off at Mystic Lake Casino & Event Center. The conference is aimed at promoting quality education, culture and unity for American Indians, according to the association.

“Despite grave losses of family and friends (during the pandemic), some who would have been at this very conference, we have a lot to celebrate as well. This gathering of the people will bring us healing and hope for the future we deserve,” Ramona Kitto Stately, who chairs the MIEA Board of Directors, said.

The Dakota and Ojibwe Quiz Bowl is slated for Wednesday morning. The winners will be announced at an awards banquet on Thursday evening.

Language revitalization and preservation is greatly important to tribes throughout Minnesota and the country, with the declining numbers of first-language speakers. WCCO previously reported on a language learning collaboration between the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Rosetta Stone.

For more information on the conference, including a list of speakers and the agenda, click here.