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Release: June 14, 2001

UI Latino Native American Cultural Center Celebrates 30 Years

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Latino Native American Cultural Center at the University of Iowa will celebrate its 30th anniversary in a gala weekend of activities July 6-8. Tribal-jazz-reggae band Poetic Justice will kick off the festivities with a concert Friday, July 6 on Iowa City’s downtown pedestrian mall. The band features poet Joy Harjo, a graduate of the UI Writers’ Workshop.

Saturday events will include discussions on the history and the future of the Center, workshops on Native American and Latino alumni networking and mentoring, and an art exhibit in the Iowa Memorial Union. A banquet Saturday evening will be followed by a dance with live Latino music. On Sunday morning a memorial service will be held for members of the UI Latino Native American community who have died. A family picnic in City Park will follow.

The special collections department of University Libraries will host an exhibit in conjunction with the anniversary celebration. "Casa, Calli Wikiabi, Home: 30 Years of the Latino Native American Cultural Center," will be on display on the third floor of the Main Library throughout July. The Iowa Women’s Archives will also have an exhibit on the third floor of the Library and will host a reception from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 7.

"The 30th anniversary of the center marks an important milestone in the history of the Latino and Native American experience at the University of Iowa," notes Adele Rodriguez, multicultural coordinator for Opportunity at Iowa. "This is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate that history while looking to the future as the Latino Native American Cultural Center continues to play a vital role in the University of Iowa community, as well as the state of Iowa and the Midwest."

Alumni from around the country are expected to return to campus to commemorate the founding of the Center. "Their participation clearly demonstrates the importance of the Center to Latino and Native American students while they are enrolled at the University of Iowa," says Rodriguez. Among the alumni returning to the UI campus for the event are three founders of the Center -- Antonio Zavala, Ruth Pushetonequa, and Rusty Barceló.

Founded as the Chicano Indian American Cultural Center in 1971, the Center and an expanding array of Native American and Latino student organizations have sponsored conferences, powwows, study groups, news and literary publications, community education programs, and boycotts, picket lines and rallies to address community and campus issues. The Center’s Teatro Zapatista also raised cultural, social and political awareness in communities throughout the Midwest and Texas through its performances of Chicano theatre, music, and Native American and Mexican traditional dance.

All events and exhibits are open to the public. Advance registration is required for meals and the Saturday dance. For more information, call Adele Rodriguez at (319) 335-0591 or write to Information is available online at

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, call Adele Rodriguez in advance at (319) 335-0591.

University of Iowa sponsors include the UI Alumni Association, College of Education Diversity Committee, College of Law, Council on the Status of Latinos, Office of Admissions, Office of Student Life, Office of the Vice President for Research, Opportunity at Iowa, School of Social Work, Sigma Lambda Gamma, Staff Council, Support Service Programs, Union Programming Board, University Human Resources, University Life Centers, Women’s Resource and Action Center, and the Writers’ Workshop. Community and individual sponsors include the Iowa City Downtown Association, Iowa City/Coralville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fort Madison LULAC Council #304, and Ralph Hernandez of Des Moines.

University of Iowa Latino Native American Cultural Center 30th Anniversary Celebration
Iowa City, Iowa,
July 6-8, 2001

Schedule of Events

Friday, July 6

12 - 5 p.m. Check in/Registration - Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) Terrace Lobby

3 - 5 p.m. Reception - Latino Native American Cultural Center, 308 Melrose Avenue

6:30 p.m. Concert: Joy Harjo and Poetic Justice

Pedestrian Mall, Downtown Iowa City

Free and open to the public

Saturday, July 7

8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Check in/Registration -- Iowa Memorial Union Terrace Lobby

9 - 9:15 a.m. Welcome and refreshments -- Rotunda, Levitt Center, Park Road near Hancher Auditorium

Adele Lozano Rodriguez, Chair, LNACC 30th Anniversary Committee

Rose Vasquez, Director, Iowa Department of Human Rights

Joe Coulter, Director, Opportunity at Iowa

9:15 - 10 a.m. Keynote Address - Rotunda, Levitt Center

Rusty Barceló, alumnus and LNACC founding member

Ruth Pushetonequa, alumnus and LNACC founding member

Antonio Zavala, alumnus and LNACC founding member

10 - 10:15 a.m. Tour of Levitt Center

10:15 - 10:45 a.m. Break (move to IMU for morning workshop)

10:45 a.m. - Noon Morning workshop - IMU

Noon - 1:30 p.m. Luncheon -- Richey Ballroom, IMU (tickets $20)

Joy Harjo, Poetry Reading

Gary Lozano, alumnus, and Ben Lozano, Musical Performance

1:45 - 3:30 p.m. Afternoon workshops - IMU

3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Tours:

Campus bus tour

Tour of the Women’s Resource and Action Center


Ongoing Exhibits:

"Casa, Calli, Wikiabi, Home: 30 Years of the

Latino Native American Cultural Center"

Special Collections Department, Third Floor, Main Library

Reception in the Iowa Women’s Archives


Art Exhibit, IMU Terrace Lobby

6 - 8 p.m. Dinner Banquet -- 2nd Floor Ballroom, Iowa Memorial Union ($25)

Master of Ceremonies -- Arturo Ramirez, alumnus

Speaker, Sister Irene Muñoz, Director, Multicultural Ministry,
Ottumwa Deanery

Jesse Villalobos, alumnus -- Musical Performance

8 - 12 midnight Dance -- 2nd Floor Ballroom, Iowa Memorial Union, featuring live Latino music ($15)

Sunday, July 8

10 - 11 a.m. Memorial Service, City Park, Shelter #2

11 a.m. - 2 p.m. Picnic - City Park, Shelter #2 ($10)

A Brief History of the University of Iowa Latino Native American Cultural Center

In the fall of 1970, the Daily Iowan reported that a Chicano and Indian American Student Union (CIASU) had applied for chartered organization status at the University of Iowa. "The CIASU issued a statement saying that the union hoped to unite university Chicanos and Indians ‘to preserve our heritage and our identity. . . . and to demand that the University of Iowa recruit more Chicano and Indian students. . ."

CIASU organizers then initiated a recruitment program and began attending community events and visiting high schools "to convince Chicano and Indian young people that they can get a chance to realize their potential at a university."

Three students -- Tony Zavala, Ruth Pushetonequa and Rusty Barceló -- were instrumental in securing a campus building for a Chicano Indian American Cultural Center at 115 N. Clinton Street in the summer of 1971. It immediately became a hub of student activism.

During the past thirty years, the Center and an expanding array of Native American and Latino student organizations have sponsored national and regional speakers and events, study groups, research initiatives, community and international organizing efforts, boycotts and picket lines to support farm workers, the UI Pow Wow, El Laberinto newsletter, El Nahuatzen literary magazine, El Teatro Zapatista, and Los Bailadores Zapatistas.

The CIACC moved to its current location at 308 Melrose Avenue in 1973. In order to reflect increasing diversity among students and community participants, the Center’s name was changed to the Latino Native American Cultural Center in 1994.