First, it was just the made up cartoons. But then with stuff going on, like in the world, especially with Trump in the last couple years, I kind of turned my attention to that too. Because I have a Facebook page with a lot of followers, I have a huge audience there where I could draw something and get over 1000 likes and a lot of shares. And so that's pretty much how this whole thing kicked off.
Political cartooning is a difficult art form to master. Finding the right balance of humor and satire is no easy task. FLC graduate Ricardo Cate has been a professional cartoonist since 2006, when he was employed by the Santa Fe New Mexican to create a daily single panel strip called Without Reservations. Cate is the most prominent Native American cartoonist working today. A marine veteran, Cate is also a stand up comedian, activist, writer, and tribal official at the Santa Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico, where he lives.
So I was a blackjack dealer at a casino in New Mexico, and I was making $400 plus in tips alone every day. Then one day, I'm just sitting there dealing out the cards, and I had a full table, and I remember I dealt out one card to everyone and one card to myself, and then I stopped. And then I was in deep thought, and then everyone was like, "Where's our other card?" I went, "Oh, okay." And I finished that hand, but in that moment, I was thinking a monkey can do this. In that one moment, I thought this isn't what I was meant to do. I decided to go back to school at age 40. This was after my stint in the Marine Corps, and then I'm a single father of three. And so I was toting them around as well.
It was my last semester. I had 11 credits, and that's all I needed to graduate, but I needed one more credit. And so the only class that offered one credit was the newspaper. So I signed up. After about a week and a half, I remember coming into class, everybody was freaking out. The first issue was coming out, but the back page was totally blank. They started asking what can you put on there, you know, and they're trying to figure something out. Then slowly my hand started going up, and I've been doodling these cartoons back here for the last week and a half, and maybe you could take some of these cartoons and fill up that page. After that, the southern Ute tribe in Ignacio got wind of what I was doing. And so they asked me if I could come up with a cartoon to grace their paper. After I graduated, I started drawing for the Santa Fe New Mexican 12 years ago. And so that's pretty much how my political cartoons kind of came about.
In 2015 and 16, Cate made multiple trips to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota to protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. While there, he was interviewed by the Daily Show with Trevor Noah's correspondent, Hassan Minaj.
Actually all they really did was they just cut and copied the iTunes User Agreement because they knew you wouldn't read it. Okay, so [inaudible] or not?
I know you're in school, and you have these expectations that when you graduate, you're gonna find your dream job. Life doesn't work that way. And If things don't work out, don't freak out when that happens, because everything will fall into place. If you're true to yourself, and you don't compromise who you are, you can't go wrong.