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George Vlahakis
University Communications

Last modified: Monday, April 13, 2009

First Nations Educational and Cultural Center moves on campus; Open house is Tuesday

April 13, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University's First Nations Educational and Cultural Center will mark its move to a larger and more accessible location with an open house Tuesday (April 14).

The center at IU Bloomington is located now in Weatherly Hall at Ashton Center after operating for the past two years at Eigenmann Hall. The public is invited to an open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and a noon ceremony marking FNECC's second anniversary.

First Nations Center

The First Nations Educational and Cultural Center is now located in Weatherly Hall in Ashton Center.

Print-Quality Photo

Among those speaking will be Johnny P. Flynn, director of the Native American Student Alliance at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, a professor in the Department of Religious Studies at IUPUI and a member of the Potawatomi tribe. Edwin Marshall, IU vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs, also will speak.

"I congratulate the First Nations Educational and Cultural Center on its anniversary and new location," Marshall said. "Its more centralized presence on this campus helps focus diversity as a core value for the campus and Indiana University. The university has a deeply-rooted obligation to serve the diverse needs of a constituent population that is representative of many cultures, ethnicities, races and backgrounds.

"We look forward to working with FNECC in the coming years to help grow its presence, not only on this campus, but also to extend the reach of its mission and services throughout the Indiana University community," Marshall added.

Johnny Flynn

Johnny Flynn

Established on April 11, 2007, the FNECC had been housed in a temporary location at the end of a sixth-floor hallway in part of a residence hall that had been converted to offices. The center's new space features separate rooms for a library/resource center, a computer lab, a study room, offices and other activities.

"It is much more welcoming," said Lillian Casillas, the center's interim director. "It will provide students with more space for the different activities that are part of the center . . . We're also a little closer to the heart of campus."

Charles Sykes, executive director of multicultural initiatives, added, "It's a step closer toward being the kind of environment that we provide for the other culture centers. It's not an independent standing space, but it is a space that has accommodations for all the different kinds of activities that we'd like the culture centers to engage in."

The term First Nations refers to American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian peoples. The mission of the FNECC includes addressing education of and about Native peoples; facilitating awareness of Native cultures, languages and histories; serving the needs of Native communities and enriching diversity at IU Bloomington.

Last fall, IU administrators expressed unqualified support for the center and outlined steps aimed at securing its future. Since then, some goals have been met, while work continues toward meeting other objectives, Sykes said.

A new advisory board was formed, which has met to discuss FNECC's mission and suggest how it can better serve its community.

The new facilities include resources which make the center's collection of print and electronic materials available to users and new materials have been added. Work-study student positions have been created, enabling the center to extend its operating hours.

Sykes said work continues toward establishing a part-time director position through partnerships with academic units in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Other diversity resources at IU Bloomington include the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center, La Casa/Latino Cultural Center, and the Asian Culture Center. For more information, see