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It’s no secret that 2020 has been brutal for many in the arts, especially Native makers who have seen their main arts shows outright canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic or shifted to a virtual format. 

Amid a trying year for Indigenous creatives, now is the time to show your support and pick up as many magnificent Native-made gifts as you possibly can. 

“During COVID, it has been hard for most of us because most of us have regular jobs. Many have lost employment or art shows canceled,” Karl “King Karl” Bautista, a Laguna Pueblo artist and owner of the new Rebel Prints gallery in Santa Fe, said in a Native News Online story in November. “We all need help right now!”

For the next 12 days, Tribal Business News will feature a Native-made product perfect for holiday gift-giving.  

The goal is to present unique and interesting items from every corner of Indian Country, from a Nez Perce artist’s beadwork to clever cartoon calendars from the Pueblos of New Mexico. We want to introduce readers to a slew of amazing artisans and businesses, so you can make shopping Indigenous a year-round habit. 

“I think it’s important to shop Indigenous not just this season but all the time,” said Turtle Mountain Chippewa designer and businesswoman Debbie Desjarlais. “Help keep small Native American shops alive.” 

In the spirit of “Shop Indigenous” and “Buy Native,” here’s our take on where to find great gifts and assist small businesses. (Check back with Tribal Business News over the next 12 days for more ideas.)

Day 1: 

2021 Without Reservations Calendar, $25, kewacate.com

Napping Day. Stick Out Your Tongue Day. Clean Out Your Fridge Day. 

The 2021 “Without Reservations” calendar is full of quirky holidays, and also includes the feast days of every Pueblo in New Mexico, from Acoma to Zia. 

It’s not surprising, considering it’s the work of Kewa Pueblo cartoonist and painter Ricardo Caté, a comic genius and champion of Pueblo culture. The calendar is a compilation of his wry “Without Reservations” strip in the Santa Fe New Mexican, the  only daily cartoon by a Native American artist in a major newspaper. 

Since 2013, Caté has been weaving American Indian humor into mainstream society and exploring the ironies of coping with the dominant culture through signature characters such as the Custer-like General and the wise, war bonnet-clad Chief. And each year, Caté commits himself to curating the cartoons into a calendar “just because it’s fun, and it’s a big moneymaker towards the end of the holidays that helps me and my kids out,” Caté said. 

You can also consider the calendar as 13 gifts in one — Jan. 2022 is included — and the most cost-efficient way to share a collection of the cartoonist’s art. 

“A lot of people can't afford my paintings, but they can always frame the cartoons in the calendar,” Caté said. “I made them purposely so you can just tear them out and frame them or hang them.”  

And with the help of the “Without Reservations” calendar, you’ll never forget the most important date of all: June 23, which is Caté’s birthday.

About The Author
Tamara Ikenberg
Contributing Writer
Tamara Ikenberg is a contributing reporter at Tribal Business News reporting on the arts and culture and tourism industries, and contributing to coverage of the Alaska Native business community. Based in Southern California, Ikenberg was a contributing writer for Native News Online and has reported for The Alaska Dispatch News, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, The Mobile Press Register, NYLON Magazine and The Baltimore Sun. She also previously worked as a grant and article writer at Juneau-based Sealaska Heritage Institute.
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