We Are One – Native American Emergency COVID-19 “Stoodis – Let’s Due This”

We Are One – Native American Emergency COVID-19 “Stoodis – Let’s Due This”

Native Americans had the worst pandemic outcomes compared to all other racial ethnic groups in New Mexico with the highest death, hospitalization and infection rates per 100,000 people. Over 60 percent of the outbreak occurred within New Mexico’s Indian people, even though they represent only 10 percent (290,000) of the population. Native Americans are particularly susceptible to the coronavirus because they suffer from disproportionate rates of asthma, heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.


PK Public Relations (PKPR) was hired by the Department of Indian Affairs and the state’s Behavioral Health Services Division to encourage behaviors that could help stop the spread of infection within the 23 Native American tribal communities scattered across New Mexico’s vast frontier.


The team developed the culturally sensitive and multi-faceted “Stoodis – We Are One” campaign. Stoodis is Native American slang for “Let’s Do This!”


Due to tribal sovereignty and the unique cultural practices within each of the distinct 23 tribes, we creatively reimagined how to effectively focus on common values, resources, moments and traditions that shape everyday indigenous life. Inspired by the leadership of the Indian Affairs Department, we mobilized Native communities, tribal leaders, artists, allies and influencers to promote accurate Native American narratives about the historical power of ancestral resiliency. Powerful visual materials included shareable and viewable artwork and content that incorporated Native humor to promote the importance of working together to protect one another during the pandemic. The ultimate approach used the subtext of “what’s old is new” to verify victories can be earned by turning to long-established traditions. While urgency and the complete shutdown of all tribal lands, limited broadband, rural remoteness, lack of basic services like running water and multigenerational households with limited ability to isolate all proved challenging, within three months, the infection and death rates dropped from 60 percent for Native populations to 36 percent.



2021 Best of Show and Gold

Public Relations Society of America – New Mexico Chapter