Luther College to host annual Ethnic Arts Festival

February 20, 2020

An opportunity to experience different cultures and hear about the history of Ho-Chunk Nation 

In celebration of the diverse cultures that come together to make up the Luther College community, the annual Ethnic Arts Festival will take place 11a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, March 7, in the Regents Center North Gym. Held by the Center for Intercultural Engagement and Student Success, the Ethnic Arts Festival is a tradition that began nearly 40 years ago.

"Ethnic arts is a fun and accessible way to learn about the many cultures represented at Luther," says Amy Webber, international student coordinator.

The Ethnic Arts Festival is open to the public with no charge for admission.

Speaker William "Nąąwącekǧize" Quackenbush, a Ho-Chunk Deer Clan tribal member will present "Ho-Chunk Nation: Honoring our Roots" at 12 p.m. Quackenbush began his career in the Ho-Chunk Nation Heritage Preservation Department in 1999 as a land specialist specializing in realty, land into trust applications and cultural and natural resource management. In 2005, the Cultural Resources Division requested for Quackenbush to be transferred to their division to become the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Ho-Chunk Nation, who was at that time creating a program to address tribal preservation needs. In 2009, Quackenbush became the Cultural Resources Division Manager.

The festival will also feature a vibrant culture fair, where visitors can learn about the various cultures represented at Luther and children can collect stamps on their ethnic arts "passport." Luther students will share their talents in the form of cultural dances and music throughout the day. Visitors can choose from a selection of ethnic foods available for purchase, including empanadas, momos, barbecue, egg rolls and pie. Additionally, student groups will offer hair braiding and henna hand art for a small fee. A children's area will feature readings of multicultural children's books and other activities.

"We hope people will come out and get a taste of culture that they've never experienced before," says Webber. "The Ethnic Arts Festival is a little bit of free travel in the middle of winter in Iowa. Meet new people, taste new foods and hear new messages."

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