Dakota Language Keyboard App Hackathon

The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) is hosting a hackathon competition to develop Dakota language keyboard applications for iOS (Apple) and Android (Google/Samsung) devices. The winning keyboards will be made available for free in the Google Play and Apple Stores, helping Dakota speakers and educators at the SMSC sustain and grow the language.

The competition begins July 1, with the coding due August 16. Individuals can enter the competition at any point during the contest period. Winners will be announced in September.

Questions? Contact SMSC Technology Strategist Amy Butani at amy.butani@shakopeedakota.org.


Everyone who submits coding for judging will receive a prize.

The iOS application grand prize winner will receive $700 and developer credit in the Apple Store application description.

The Android application grand prize winner will receive $600 and developer credit in the Google Play Store application description.


  • Please see the “Participant Agreement” for complete details. The agreement must be signed prior to submitting the application coding.
  • Everyone is welcome to compete.
  • Youth under 18 years old must have parent or legal guardian as part of their team. The parent or legal guardian must sign the Participant Agreement.
  • Identities of the contestants will not be shared with judges. Do not include any information (name/contact information) in your code that would identify you. 
  • Participants may create an iOS application, an Android application, or both. 
  • The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) will retain the rights to the first-place applications.  
  • SMSC team members must have approval from their manager to use any SMSC resources or work on the application during business hours.


The application must use the default operating system font for iOS (SF Pro) and Android (Roboto).

Solutions could include:

  • An application that will make only Dakota letters available in the list of alternate characters (the “press and hold” function) of the English keyboard.
  • An application that will add Dakota letters to the list of alternate characters of the English keyboard.
  • An application that will install a full Dakota keyboard.

The applications must include the following letters that are in the SMSC’s Dakota language:


Submitted applications will be judged for:

  • Accuracy
  • Ease of use
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Aesthetics

All applications will be judged in an initial technical review. Applications that pass the technical review will be considered a finalist and then will be judged by Dakota language speakers/SMSC Members.

All contestants will be invited to an award ceremony at Hocokata Ti (date TBD). Contestants (or their designee) may be interviewed or asked to demonstrate their application in person at the event.

Hocokata TI Tipi View

2300 Tiwahe Circle, Shakopee, MN 55372
Open Wednesday-Saturday from 9am-4:30 pm

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