Renowned cartoonist creates culturally appropriate messages

SANTA FE – To raise awareness about the current public health crisis in tribal communities, New Mexico today launched a COVID-19 outreach campaign featuring the work of renowned Native American cartoonist Ricardo Caté, who uses humor to discuss serious topics affecting Native American communities.

Caté is one of the most prominent Native American cartoonists working today and is the only Native American cartoonist carried in a daily mainstream newspaper. His cartoon, “Without Reservation,” is published daily in the Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News. It explores the irony and poignant humor found in the Native American experience of living in dominant culture.

“Laughter has always been a part of being Indian, and Native humor is culturally unique and at the heart of our resilience and survivability,” Caté said.

The Behavioral Health Services Division of the New Mexico Human Services Department and the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department partnered to create the campaign.

New Mexico Native Americans are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. The latest statewide data shows that more than 54 percent of all positive cases in New Mexico are Native American. Tribal communities are particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus because they suffer from higher rates of diabetes, asthma, cancer and hypertension.

The goal of the campaign is to use culturally relevant messaging to raise awareness and educate tribal communities on how to take precautions necessary to protecting tribal communities, families, culture, elders and traditional ways. Sample cartoons are below and can be found at:

The campaign employs the culturally relevant rallying term “Stoodis New Mexico” which means “let’s do this.”

The campaign will also use public service announcements on Native American radio stations, banners at water and food pick-up and testing areas and fliers distributed at each Native pueblos, tribe or nation. A social media component relies on the extensive New Mexico Native American social influencers to amplify the information.

Cartoon by Ricardo Caté.

For more information, to get helpful tips and to view additional cartoons please visit or