Ethan Neerdaels webOsseo’s Dakota Culture and Language Specialist Ethan Neerdaels was named the state’s Outstanding Dakota Language Teacher of the Year by the Minnesota Indian Education Association (MIEA).

He is a recent graduate of the University of Minnesota’s American Indian Studies and Daḳóta language programs and currently serves as the executive director of the Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, a nonprofit focused on the revitalization of Dakota language in the home, community and classroom. Neerdaels organized and moderated the first ever state sanctioned Dakota Language Bowl at this year’s MIEA annual conference.

Additional Osseo Area Schools employees and parents participated in the conference as presenters. Students from the district participated in the Language Bowl as well as represented Osseo in a grand entry of royalty and student dancers, veterans and members of the Prairie Island Indian Community.