Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (DIO)

Project Details by Fiscal Year
2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Fund Source
Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund
Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (DIO)
Recipient Type
Non-Profit Business/Entity
In Progress
Start Date
January 2021
End Date
December 2021
Activity Type
Counties Affected
Project Overview

Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (DIO) was created out of an international need for Dakota language materials to be implemented for language learning in the home, community and classroom. Out of necessity for the language to live and thrive for generations despite the pandemic, we envisioned the Dakota Language Distance Learning (DLDL) program. This program offers daily, online Dakota language classes to support distance learning as school districts across Minnesota navigate the impacts of COVID-19.

Competitive Grant Making Body
Advisory Group Members and Qualifications

Shirley Sneve (St. Paul, MN) – Shirley was Director of the Tiwahe Foundation and works in the arts and humanities largely focusing on American Indian and Alaska Native cultures. She is Lakota.

Travis Zimmerman (Mille Lacs, MN) – Travis works at the Mille Lacs Indian Museum and has worked with MHC in a variety of programs, including as a panelist for the Veterans Voices Awards. He is Ojibwe.

Cheyanne St. John (Morton, MN) – Cheyanne works in the Tribal Historical Preservation Office for the Lower Sioux Indian Reservation.  She is Dakota.

Conflict of Interest Disclosed
Conflict of Interest Contact

Laura Benson

Minnesota Humanities Center



Legal Citation / Subdivision
Minn. State Legislature Article 4, Section 2, Subdivision 8, (d)
Appropriation Language

$850,000 the first year and $850,000 the second year are for a competitive grants program to provide grants to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Humanities Center must operate a competitive grants program to provide grants to programs that preserve and honor the cultural heritage of Minnesota or that provide education and student outreach on cultural diversity or to programs that empower communities to build their identity and culture. Priority must be given to grants for individuals and organizations working to create, celebrate, and teach indigenous arts and cultural activities and arts organizations and programs preserving, sharing, and educating on the arts and cultural heritage of immigrant communities in Minnesota.

2021 Fiscal Year Funding Amount
Number of full time equivalents funded
Proposed Measurable Outcome(s)

In order to address the increasing language loss, low academic achievement, and negative impacts on social and cultural identity of Dakota language learners, the detailed outcomes that this project will achieve are outlined below.

Outcome 1: Increase teacher-training, while also encouraging teachers to pursue certification and continuing education credits through other DIO programming (e.g. DIO Summer Institute)

Outcome 2: Produce more Dakota language and culture teachers that are highly qualified to teach in Minnesota Public schools

Outcome 3: Increase the number of students receiving Dakota language and immersion education as well as cultural education in Minnesota Public Schools

Outcome 4: Increase the number of youth as second language learners of Dakota, those both on and off reservation

Outcome 5: Improve Dakota proficiency of students and families

Outcome 6: Increase motivation of both students and families to practice Dakota both in and out of the classroom setting

Outcome 7: Provide a best-practice Dakota curricular resource for K-12 students

Outcome 8: Increase the number of curricular materials in Dakota

Outcome 9: Increase capacity for Dakota immersion

Measurable Outcome(s)

In progress

Recipient Board Members
Ethan Neerdaels, Wayne Bendickson, Neil McKay, Clifford Canku, Katie Blue, Wil Meya, John Reynolds, Raine Cloud
Project Manager
First Name
Last Name
Organization Name
Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (DIO)
Administered By
Administered by

987 Ivy Avenue East
St. Paul, MN 55106

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