New Mexico has a colorful way of spreading a strong message. The state's Indian Affairs and Human Services departments have partnered with cartoonist Ricardo Caté to create a COVID-19 coloring book for tribal youth.
Caté’s cartoon “Without Reservations” is published daily in the Santa Fe New Mexican and The Taos News. He’s on the newscast today to discuss the coloring book with Lynn Trujillo, the Indian Affairs Department Cabinet Secretary.
Also on the newscast is Indian Country Today freelancer Eddie Chuculate, who talks about his latest article on tribal colleges starting the fall semester in a variety of ways.
A few comments:
“I started with the lockdown and as the whole pandemic progressed, whatever was on the news, I started drawing on a day to day basis.”
“As we all know, unfortunately, many of our Native American Alaska Native relatives continue to be disproportionately impacted and really suffered from high prevalence and mortality rates. Luckily here in New Mexico, the latest statewide data shows that, 32.9 percent of positive cases here in New Mexico are Native American and Alaska native. We seen a flattening of that curve, which I think has been phenomenal. Um, and I really want to commend tribal leaders if he in court taking Swift action, in their tribal communities to protect their homelands and their citizens. And what is the goal of this coloring book? Well, I mean, I think the goal of this coloring book is to, provide education.
“I think through the humor that Ricardo exhibits through his own work he can teach lessons that will be impactful to our young ones and also maybe their parents or their grandparents who are, watching them, or maybe coloring with them too.”
“Like Madame Trujillo said, I come up with these ideas and like I said, I’ve already been drawing them. And so from not only a parent or a community member standpoint but from a teacher standpoint.”
“I'm also a teacher and I work a lot with kids. In fact, I had been passing out art supplies in our community the same week that they had asked me. So when this fell into my lap, so to speak, it was a very opportune time for that to happen because I was thinking of kids at the time and wondering how I could help them a little more and this coloring book seemed to be right up that alley. So it was a very opportune time.”
“I wanted to do it from a Native standpoint because there was only some information starting to come out. But I wanted something specifically for Native communities and especially for the kids. And I was very happy to do this. And so they pretty much let me loose. They just gave me the information. I took the information and put a humorous spin on it. And that's basically all I did.”
“Well actually I was one of those people that was guarding the entrance to our village. And so that actually kind of happens but it wasn't so long (as written in the cartoon). It was just like “my cousin’s girlfriend is from here can I get in”. And I thought that was pretty funny. So I draw a lot from personal experiences and just last night I was booking it back from Santa Fe trying to make it back because we still have that nine o'clock curfew in our village.”
“There's so many. I love that one because it is actually really true and I know that's true. Actually, I love the one with the hand sanitizer where he's asking, “So good, you brought water from the river” and she has a pot on her head (and she says) “No, this is hand sanitizer”. And that gave me an idea for how to get hand sanitizer out into our communities.”
“Yeah well I wasn't sure about that one when I first drew it. I was like, am I getting too much into the traditional aspects of Pueblo culture. But you know, it's all good. You see these pictures of women with the pottery on their head. And so I always have to think about and try to basically censor myself so I don't step on any toes. I'm glad this coloring book turned out really nice. And hopefully it makes a huge impact on what we're trying to do here to educate everyone.”
“Yeah one time I had a (dance) partner and she was (staying) six feet away but it just turned out that she didn't like me.”
“I'm really happy that this book turned out this way. Although I don't have a book yet. I haven't seen the coloring book yet.”
“If there's any way that I could personally deliver the coloring books and work with kids and even talk to them anywhere, anytime let me know. I would love that opportunity for sure.”
“The coloring book is available on our website. We're also really excited because we've been approached by a foundation to pay for another reprinting that we would really like to get out to our urban Indian centers and different organizations. The first round of books went out to the sovereign nations here in New Mexico that we would really love to get those out to our centers and communities.”
“Ricardo can talk to you about what ‘stoodis’ means. I think we also want to make sure that there's an opportunity for everyone not only little ones, but everyone to draw their own cartoon and to share it and use the hashtag. We love to share people's cartoons and their artwork.”
“Actually I can say I came up with that (hashtag) but I had been seeing Stoodis, which is lingo for Natives for ‘Let's do this’ and then Skoden, which is ‘Let's go then’ it's just lingo that have been appearing on Facebook. And it's been very popular. So when we were at a meeting and they were trying to come up with some catch phrase and it just came out, it just popped up. The Native in me just spoke up and the non-Natives were just looking at me. They were like, what does that mean and I had to explain it to them. And when I did, they absolutely loved it. And so I'm sitting there going, ‘Oh my gosh, what have I done? Is this right?’ Or I wasn't sure you know, but it turns out it was, it was the perfect catchphrase for this.”
“Some colleges don't want to go back, some want to open online and go back later in the semester. Some want to open the semester in-person then go to online. So it's just a total mix.”
“One of them, Haskell, made a determination a couple of months ago to go online only. So it's online only at Haskell this semester.”
“They decided in the spring to go with a mix, primarily because as an art school with studios like stone carving and metal work and ceramics and stuff that virtually impossible to do that type of stuff, virtual. So that's another situation where it's a mix where I think the students and those hands on classes will be in the studio right off this semester I think for eight weeks and then transitioned to online while the rest of the students that are online from the get go. We spoke with the
“Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma is providing, upon move in, students get a disposable mask, a washable mask and then hand sanitizer, which I guess will be in place all semester.”
“Haskell can't because they're going all online only, so that's impossible. Bacone has sports, and they're a member of the NAIA and what they've done in the NAIA is cancel they're fall championships like football and stuff to the spring but individual conferences at schools can go ahead with their seasons and Bacone as of right now is going to go ahead and play, I think cross country and soccer.”
Also in the newscast, correspondent Carina Dominguez explains the controversy surrounding Lezmond Mitchell’s execution. Deputy Managing Editor Jourdan Bennett-Begaye has the latest positive COVID-19 test numbers in Indian Country.
Patty Talahongva, Hopi, is executive producer of Indian Country Today. Follow her on Twitter: @WiteSpider. Based in Phoenix, Arizona. Talahongva enjoys hiking, reading and traveling to new places.
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