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Release: July 26, 2001

Latino-Native American Cultural Center's founding commemorated

IOWA CITY— The words casa, calli, wikiabi, and home, in their respective Spanish, Nahuatl, Meskwaki, and English languages, distinctively connote one's sense of place within a larger, dominate culture. Collectively, those four words combine to make up the title of the University of Iowa Libraries' commemorative exhibit, "Casa, Calli, Wikiabi, Home: 30 Years of the Latino-Native American Cultural Center."

The free, newly opened exhibit recognizes the 30th founding anniversary of the UI's
Latino-Native American Culture Center and the center's role as a focal point for political activism. The exhibit is on display for close-up viewing through August at the special collections department, Third Floor, Main Library from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or via the department's corridor windows during regular Main Library hours.

David McCartney, university archivist, arranged the exhibition of photographs, newspaper articles, posters, and other items, which, he says, attempts to relate the center's founders' goal of creating a community identity for students whose cultural heritage is reflected in the center's name.

Among the other items exhibited are t-shirts, buttons and newsletters, which further chronicles the center's history as a gathering place, inspiration for community awareness, and social events. Some unique items, such as an invitation to a couple's 1973 wedding shower that was held at the center as one of its first events, are also included in the display.

When the student movement to open a heritage center began in 1970, Latino and Native American students comprised a limited makeup of the UI's total enrollment. Today, as was the past, the center continues to be used as a site for students of similar identities to use for educational and social purposes.

Teresa Garcia, a UI graduate student and one of the center's members, coordinated a large portion of the materials used in the exhibit, which also addresses the center's future. McCartney and Garcia devote some attention to disparate opinions about whether the existing center, located at
308 Melrose Avenue, should be razed and a new center should be built or relocated elsewhere on campus.

The exhibition items have been drawn primarily from a recently donated collection housed at the University of Iowa Archives.