IAIA Breaks Ground for New Home

Sep 15th, 1999 | By | Category: 11-1: 10th Anniversary Issue, Tribal College News

IAIA alumna Randy’L Hedow Teton was honored at the groundbreaking. Photo by Rachael Marchbanks

Thirty-six years is a long time to be homeless, but the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, N..M., will soon have a campus of its own. More than 600 friends and supporters of the school gathered in a tent on a windy Saturday morning in April for the groundbreaking ceremony at the new site.

“This day is a day to celebrate,” said IAIA President Della Warrior to the crowd. “This day had been a long time coming…It’s going to mean so much to our students. Our students deserve a quality learning environment.” The new site boasts 140 acres of land donated by Rancho Viejo Limited Partnership in 1990. IAIA has never had its own campus. Since 1981, it has been renting facilities from the College of Santa Fe.

Plans for the $14 million new campus include a 37,000 square foot building for classrooms, a student dormitory, and administrative facilities including a library and dining hall.

IAIA secured $8.5 million for the new campus from Congress, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, and the state legislature. They plan to raise the rest of the money needed from private donors, foundations, and possibly a general obligation bond issue. Congress had earlier decided to discontinue its financial support of the school after fiscal year 1999. Many thought IAIA would have to close its doors (see TCJ, Vol. 10, N.1, pp..48-51).

Many dignitaries spoke, including Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), and astronaut John Herrington (Chickasaw). IAIA President Emeritus Lloyd Kiva New (Cherokee) sent a pre-recorded message on videotape for the occasion. The model for the Sacagawea U.S. Dollar Coin, Randy’L Hedow Teton, was an honored guest. She graduated from IAIA.

Following the groundbreaking ceremony, IAIA hosted a pow wow and lunch for those gathered. The guests enjoyed traditional foods, including salmon, wild game, fry bread, stew, and corn . Musician Star Nayea (Sioux), recently signed to V2 Records, sang for the audience. Flute player DeArmond Williams (Caddo/Delaware/Diné) also provided entertainment.

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