Keres Imagery Promotes Traditional Tobacco Use Within Tribes While Striving to Support Secondhand Smoke Protections in Native American Communities
ALBUQUERQUE, NM – December 22, 2022 – Keres, a Native American-owned small business that provides professional services in tribal community health, engineering, facilities, environment, and tribal programs, received nationwide recognition for its traditional tobacco outreach campaign aimed to promote protections from secondhand smoke while promoting the sacred place of traditional tobacco in many Indigenous communities. The campaign included a series of Keres-designed images with uplifting messages for keeping one’s breath sacred, living nicotine-free, and general health and wellbeing, with designs that showcase the diversity of culture within New Mexico’s Pueblos, Tribes, and Nations.
The campaign was a part of Keres’ Smoke Free Signals program. Funded by the New Mexico Department of Health Nicotine Use Prevention and Control program, Smoke Free Signals was established in 2015 to protect New Mexico’s sovereign Tribal Nations from the dangers of secondhand smoke. Smoke Free Signals’ work focuses on the harms of commercial tobacco, which is addictive, cancer-causing, and mass-produced for profit by the tobacco industry. Smoke Free Signals’ work does not impact a Tribe’s use of sacred tobacco which many New Mexico Tribal communities use as a form of prayer and in ceremonial settings.
“The designs take inspiration from traditional Apache, Diné, and Pueblo art and clothing,” said Keres Project Coordinator and artist, Josiah Concho (Diné and Acoma Pueblo). “We wanted to create messaging that New Mexico Indigenous people would feel is representative of their communities, and that they’d actually want to promote within their programs.”
Pictured from left to right: Prairie dog designs dressed in traditional attire of Apache, Diné, and Pueblo communities. The images were used for T-shirts and stickers and distributed across the state to Tribal community programs.
Keres received over 50 requests for campaign items, distributing over 2,800 items to different health programs, organizations, and tribal members including multiple inquiries from other states like Alaska, Washington, Maryland, Arizona, and South Dakota. The initiative garnered nationwide attention when it was featured by American Lung Association at an Oklahoma public health conference as a best practice and example for tailoring nicotine prevention messaging to your community.
“As a small business based in Albuquerque, we are humbled at the success of this campaign,” said Tim Chavez, President and CEO of Keres. “We look forward to growing the initiative in the coming year to continue to serve and educate Tribal communities about the dangers of commercial tobacco and sacred tobacco as a protective factor.”
Keres also holds additional contracts with the State of New Mexico in tobacco prevention and cessation including prevention and cessation support to New Mexico young adults with the New Mexico Department of Health Nicotine Use Prevention and Control Program and a second statewide education project with the New Mexico Indian Affairs Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. Additional community health work led by Keres includes serving as the authoring agency for the American Lung Association toolkit, "Addressing Commercial Tobacco Use in Indigenous Communities Toolkit" and leading vaccine equity strategies in Tribal communities through the New Mexico Department of Health.
Pictured above: Keres used additional images to create custom notebooks, posters, silk scarves and more stickers for free distribution to Native American communities.
About Keres Consulting, Inc.:
Keres Consulting, Inc. is a general management consulting firm with specialized expertise in community health, asset management and sustainability, engineering and the environment, and communications. Established in 2001, the company is a Native American-owned Small Disadvantaged Business that supports projects benefiting Indian Country. More information about Keres is available at www.keresnm.com.
About Smoke Free Signals:
Smoke Free Signals was established in 2015 to provide secondhand smoke protections to New Mexico Native American communities. Smoke Free Signals provides presentations, educational materials, policy support, newsletters, outreach events, and more at no charge to New Mexico Tribal communities. Smoke Free Signals strives to support Native communities in the adoption of smoke-free policies and resolutions to ensure access to clean air for all. More information about Smoke Free Signals is available at www.SmokeFreeSignals.com.