Cartoonist Ricardo Caté’s depictions of Standing Rock
Thanksgiving Day was a solemn one for the Native Americans and their supporters camped out near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, where members of the Sioux tribe and others remain steadfast in their opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline. The protesters’ position is that the project — a 1,172-mile-long oil pipeline that stretches from Stanley, North Dakota, to Patoka, Illinois — threatens Native burial sites and the water supply of the Standing Rock Sioux. Protesters have been met with a violent police response, becoming targets for rubber bullets, police dogs, concussion grenades, and pepper spray, and they have been blasted with water cannons despite the frigid North Dakota temperatures. Hundreds have been arrested since the protests began in the spring and frontline injuries have been reported, some of them critical.
The irony of the situation in North Dakota as it stood on Thanksgiving isn’t lost on Santa Fe-based cartoonist Ricardo Caté (Kewa/Santo Domingo Pueblo), who has been traveling to Standing Rock to witness the protest and the police response since August. Caté, whose comic Without
Reservations has appeared daily in The Santa Fe New Mexican since 2006, uses his talents to bring humor to longstanding tensions between Native and non-Native people. His satirical strip tackles political, social, economic, and environmental issues facing Native Americans. More than 20 original paintings and drawings by Caté are in the exhibit DAPL
[Dakota Access Pipeline], opening Friday, Dec. 2, at Vida Loca Gallery (203 W. San Francisco St.) with a 5 p.m. reception. Caté’s works highlight issues surrounding the protest, such as the mischaracterizing of peaceful protesters as aggressors and the response by the public via social media. The exhibition remains on view through Jan. 5, 2017.
— Michael Abatemarco
Ricardo Caté: “My report ...”, 2016, acrylic on canvas