Photo identification, from left to right: Shawna Jones, Sheila Fairbanks, Marcus Ammesmaki.

Anishinaabe language students at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College have earned another state championship title for the college.

Current Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College students Marcus Ammesmaki of Cloquet, Sheila Fairbanks of Cloquet, and Shawna Jones of Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada, won the seventh annual Minnesota Anishinaabe Language Quiz Bowl on April 6 at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College team was crowned State Champion after finishing in First Place in Division II. This is the third state title for Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College.

A second team from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College also made the podium in Division I, finishing in third place. Team members included Lucas Reynolds of Cloquet, Khayman Goodsky of Duluth, and Kevin Liebeck of Cloquet.

The annual collegiate competition consists of two divisions. Division I is for teams with members who have had one year or less of Anishinaabe language instruction, and Division II consists of teams with students who have more than one year of advanced Anishinaabe language instruction.

At this year’s double-elimination format competition, the eventual champions from Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College didn’t take the easy route to the championship title as they lost by one point to White Earth Tribal College in the first round and then had to win all of their remaining matches in the sudden death side of the double-elimination tournament. The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College team fought their way back through the bracket and faced White Earth Tribal College again in the championship’s final round, this time defeating them twice in a row to win the Division II Championship.

Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College teams have won two state championship titles in previous years, plus they have posted three consecutive runner-up finishes in the most recent three years of competitions.

“We are happy to participate every year and win again this year, because it is the only collegiate Anishinaabe language competition,” said Dan Jones, faculty at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College and moderator for the event. “It is an excellent exhibition of knowledge and a great learning experience for college students who want to study the Anishinaabe language. It seems to get more competitive each year, and it’s also a lot of fun for everyone involved.” The event is self-supported by participating schools.

The seventh annual Ojibwe Language College Quiz Bowl was a double-elimination tournament pitting four-person teams representing Minnesota colleges and universities against each other in a fast-paced and tension-filled competition. Typical questions covered Anishinaabe language definitions, pronunciation, and translation. Using touch pads and timing devises, the matches moved quickly throughout the day.

Other participating schools included teams from Leech Lake Tribal College, University of Minnesota-Duluth, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, White Earth Tribal College, The College of St. Scholastica, Augsburg College and Minneapolis Community and Technical College. Several schools entered more than one team to create the starting field. All Minnesota colleges and universities are invited each year to the competition.


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