OLAC Lotería Night Commemorates Indigenous Resistance Day 


By Manuela Trujillo Montoya / News Reporter || Edited by Victoria Vega

ROME — The Organization of Latin American Culture Club hosted a traditional Latin American board game night called, Lotería, to commemorate Indigenous Resistance Day on Oct. 12. 

The event took place in G.K.1.2 at 6 p.m. The classroom filled up with students leaving no empty chairs, which came as a surprise for the board members, who said they did not expect to have a “full house.”  

Lotería is a board game similar to American bingo that dates back to the 18 Century in Italy and Spain, where only the elite would play it. During the Mexican Independence Movement from Spain (1810-1821), Mexican soldiers began to play the game for entertainment and adopted it to the Mexican foklore. 

Club President Alejandro Martinez opened the game night by introducing the concept of the lotería and presented the OLAC board members present. 

“I joined the OLAC board because I wanted to discover something more about Latin American culture and make new friendships with people that come from other parts of the world,” said Emmanuela Rosa Ruotolo, Event Coordinator of OLAC. 

For the loteria cards, the board members used a template of Latin American landmarks including Las Lajas Sanctuary in Colombia; Nazca Lines in Peru; Chapultepec Castle in Mexico; and Andes in Argentina and Chile. 

Courtesy of OLAC .

Every student had a lotería card and board members pulled out a piece of paper with the landmark. After the name was announced, Martinez explained where the landmark is located and its importance. 

The Latin American region covers 20 countries and 14 terriotires of the American continent, beginning in the southern portion of North America with Mexico and the more than 700 islands of the Caribbean, extending to seven countries in Central America and 12 countries in South America. 

“I didn’t know where some of these places were, and I got to learn about them,” said Becca Alvarenga, a Senior student studying abroad from Iowa with a double major in Political Science and International Studies. 

By the end of the night, four winners won a basket of various Latin American sweets.  One of the winners was Noemi Fregoso, a Marketing major student of Mexican descent. 

“I haven’t played lotería in a long time, and I really missed it,” said Fregoso. 

The original Mexican lotería cards have representative characters and symbols of Mexican culture.  

In traditional bingo, a number with a corresponding letter is randomly chosen from a rotating wheel, while in traditional loteria, a colorfully illustrated image is drawn from a special deck of 54 cards. The modern version of loteria is slightly different, while it includes the name of the image it also has a corresponding number. 

“Players will quickly realize how much more visually and intellectually engaging and fun it is to play Lotería than the American Bingo game,” said artist, illustrator, designer, and author Teresa Villegas in her article “History of La Loteria

It is common to play the lotería on social occasions and personalize the lotería cards for birthdays, bachelorette parties, baby showers, Christmas events, or, in the case of OLAC, to commemorate the Indigenous Resistance Day. 

Oct. 12 is celebrated in memory of the struggle waged from the period of 1492 to 1715 between Native Americans and indigenous peoples against European conquistadores (conquerors), a struggle that continued until the indepenence movements from Europe in the 1800s. 

The day is known as Día de la Hispanidad in Spain, Colombus Day in the United States and Día de la Raza in Mexico. Some Latin American countries have renamed it as Indigenous Resistance Day in Venezuela, Day of Culture in Costa Rica, and American Cultural Diversity Day in Argentina. 

The United Nations celebrates  International Day of the World Indigenous People on Aug. 9. 

Meet the OLAC Board 

The most recent Latin American Club at JCU was active since 2017 but put on hold when the pandemic broke out in March 2020 with former president Julia Guimaraes. The club reemerged in August 2021 with new board members. 

  • President for two consecutive years, Alejandro Martinez, a Senior, from Mexico, majoring in Economics and Finance and minoring in International Affairs and Business Administration. 
  • Vicepresident, Maria Viñas, Sophomore, from Panama majoring in Psychology and minoring in Communications.  
  • Secretary, Violeta Nanutti, a Senior, from Texas, was raised in El Salvador, majoring in Communications and minoring in Humanities. 
  • Treasurer, Marcela Gutierrez, a Junior, from Mexico, was raised in Costa Rica, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Economics and Finance. 
  • Event coordinator, Emmanuela Rosa Ruotolo, Sophomore, from Italy, majoring in International Affairs with a double minor in Legl Studies and History. 
  • Social Media Coordinator, Paola Villacrés, Senior, from Ecuador, double majoring in History and Communications. 
  • Webmaster, Camila Guevara, is a Freshman from Colombia, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marketing. 

The goal of OLAC is to promote and share with the JCU community, student body, faculty, and staff topics concerning Latin American cultures, ranging from political, economic, social, and cultural subjects, said Martinez. 

The club organizes bachata and salsa classes, taught last year by JCU Alumna Valentina Volado, and multiple game nights including the Loteria Night, Jeopardy Night, and the Fifa Cup Tournament. These events are public and open to all JCU students, staff, and faculty members they are an opporutnity to learn more about Latin American culture while socializing. 

For more information about the club and future activities, email them at olaclub@johncabot.edu or visit their Instagram page @olacjcu