Monday, August 15, 2005

Definition of Indian

From the Federal Register June 12, 2003:

Requests were made to expand the definition of Indian to permit people of Indian descent, yet who are not enrolled in State or federally recognized Tribes, to sell their work as Indian Art. The final rule has not adopted this request.

The term *Indian* does include members of state recognized Tribes.

Those artisans of Indian descent, may market their goods as an Indian only if they are certified as an *Indian artisan* by an Indian Tribe. Such certification is at the option of the tribe.

The Act does not prohibit statements as to ones Indian heritage, so long as the statements are truthful and do not falsely suggest the individual is a member of an Indian Tribe. (The product made is not Indian unless the maker is a member of an Indian Tribe or has a letter of certification from the Tribe of descent)

Products that are not Indian made, in the style of Indian products and offered for sale, can only be sold as *non-Indian made*.

Examples of non-qualifying products, (not Indian Products):

  1. products *in the style of an Indian art or craft* made by non-Indian labor;
  2. products *in the style of an Indian art or craft* designed by an Indian but produced by non-Indian labor;
  3. products *in the style of an Indian art or craft* assembled from a kit;
  4. products *in the style of an Indian art or craft* without substantial transformation provided by Indian artistic or craft work labor;
  5. An industrial product may not become an Indian product;
  6. products *in the style of an Indian art or craft* that is produced in an assembly line or related production line process using multiple workers not all whom are Indians. (example: if twenty people make up the labor to create the product, and one person is not Indian, the product is not an *Indian product*.


Contemporary Cherokee Baskets said...

Many products today are shown as *Indian Style*, this is a clear indication that the producer of the product is not Indian; likewise, when a request is made to an artisan as to whether or not they are enrolled in a particular tribe, often times, they dance around the question if they are non-Indian or do not qualitfy as Indian under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

It appears that to eliminate this, a requirement of ones enrollment number is required to authenticate the art object as *Indian* or production of a certifying letter from the Tribe is required.

Contemporary Cherokee Baskets said...

It also appears that the key element for a product to be *Indian* is that it is made by a qualifying Indian, that is, it was his *labor* that produced the object. Anything less than that is not an Indian product.