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New Mexico State University

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Groundbreaking ceremony for Native American Cultural Center to be held at NMSU

A groundbreaking ceremony for a Native American Cultural Center (NACC) will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 12, at the New Mexico State University Corbett Center Student Union outdoor stage.


The NACC will be located southeast of the Corbett Center Student Union. The site offers access to student housing, commuter parking, the Corbett Center outdoor stage, as well as views of the Organ Mountains.

The center will feature offices, classrooms, computer rooms and multipurpose spaces for programs and projects including a Native American Studies Program currently in development.

"The NACC will provide much needed space supporting NMSU efforts to recruit, retain and educate American Indian students," said Donald D. Pepion, associate professor in the departments of sociology and anthropology and educational management and development. "It will provide a central location to promote efficient communications and coordination of programs essential to Native American higher education."

In attendance will be Carmen Gonzales, vice president of Student Success; Roman Aldava, president of the United Native American Organization; Jerrod Begaye, president of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, and Michael Ray, president of the Native American Student Business Association. Gov. Bill Richardson has been invited to attend.

"We feel it is important to include the students in this ceremony," Pepion said. "Therefore, the three presidents of Native American student organizations will be representing the students and the tribes and pueblos of the Southwest."

Donny Jones, a member of the Navajo Nation, will serve as master of ceremonies. Guillermo Portillo of the Piro-Manso-Tiwa Tribe of Guadalupe Pueblo will bless the grounds. Piro-Manso-Tiwa dancers will perform a "friendship dance" at the end of the ceremony.

Yvette Aguilar, Miss Native American at New Mexico State University, will participate in the welcome segment of the ceremony. John Yazzie, a member of the Navajo Nation, will perform an opening invocation and Matt Runsabove, a member of the Lakota tribe, will perform a closing prayer.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. For more information call (505) 646-4207.