“Our non-Native teachers always thought we were talking about them. I mean we were but that’s beside the point.” – Santa Domingo citizen and Cartoonist Ricardo Caté
Caté hopes to go nationwide with ‘Without Reservations’
CATOOSA, Oklahoma — “I’ve been cartooning all my life,” Cartoonist and Santa Domingo citizen Ricardo Caté said.
Also a former U.S. Marine, Caté said he would draw with his best friend growing up.
“We would draw stuff that was happening in our classroom and exchange them in between classes,” he said.
He said in high school he continued doodling well into his adult life. In 2003 he won $100 in an art contest.
“That was pretty much where it started,” Caté said.
He now draws, ‘Without Reservations,’ which is a daily comic in the ‘Santa Fe New Mexican.’ He said his subject material comes from his experience but also deals with political themes.
“I started late,” Caté said. “This does come from experience. The things I’ve seen; the things I have heard.”
He said racism is out there and his cartoon reflects on that.
He believes that he could have started earlier on his comic but it would not have been as in depth as it is now.
“You have to have that experience behind you to do something like this,” Caté said.
He said one of his drawings is showing a little Native American boy writing on the chalkboard, ‘I will not act Indigenous in class,’ was a true experience because he would get in trouble for speaking his language.
His teachers always thought Caté was making fun of them when he used his language.
“Our non-Native teachers always thought we were talking about them,” Caté said. “I mean we were but that’s beside the point.”
He said growing up on the reservation and then going to the as he calls it, ‘dominant society,’ Caté could always finds the humor and good in the world regardless of what was going on.
“The humor is there,” he said. “I have to look for it.”
Caté said over 70,000 people read his comic.
“For my readers, most are non-Native,” he said.
He said, ‘Without Reservations’ became the number one cartoon in Santa Fe.
“It is three times more popular than the second comic, which is ‘Peanuts,’ ” Caté said.
Caté said his overall goal is to keep expanding his comic and be in more newspapers.
“I want to make this nationwide,” he said. “I want to see if it will be accepted or not.”
Caté also said he does not speak for all Natives, but a lot of them agree with what his comics mean.
“I believe they might have experienced the same thing that I have,” he said.
Caté said he has one book of his comic out for sale and that book two would be out by Christmas 2018.