The Smithsonian has recently awarded a Visiting Artists grant to a lady out of Indiana who *claims* to be Cherokee, but who is not even a registered tribal member with any of the Federally Recognized Cherokee Tribes, Oklahoma, North Carolina or UKB. She does however, belong to a *Cherokee Group* in Indiana, that at one time tried and failed to get Federal Recognition. This grant then allows a non Indian to paw through many treasured Indian artifacts.
How can this be you ask? Well we're wondering that as well.
These are the Qualifications for the grant:
"Who is eligible to apply? Native artists from the Western Hemisphere and Hawai‘i who are recognized by their community, have at least ten years of experience, and can demonstrate significant artistic accomplishments. Artists working in any media (visual arts, media arts, performance arts, literature, etc.) are eligible to apply."
The Smithsonian does not have any requirement that this *Artist* have a Tribal Registration Number or Letter from their Tribe that they are a member or non member artist.
As many registered tribal members know, there are a great many people who *claim* Indian heritage but have no proof that they are even Indian. There is a growing number of groups *claiming* to be Indian, as well as the selling of tribal memberships to illegal immigrants. These groups in turn then apply for Title VII grants through the public schools, again without any proof of tribal membership, just that *they have some type of story that they are Indian*. The Schools actually send out information telling parents they only need to have this *story* they are Indian to enroll their children in these Title VII programs.
This type of conduct on the part of the federal government and federal institutions such as the Smithsonian is a slap in the face to Indians and Indian Artists. This is a modern day case of the Cherokee Nation vs Georgia, where the whites came in and claimed the Cherokee's home land and the federal government just stood by and watched and then forcibly removed the South Eastern Indians from their home to the North Eastern part of Oklahoma. This is just another way to decimate and destroy the Indian Culture.
Credible Indian grant or scholarship programs make these the required proof to show Indian Blood:
1. A Card issued by a Tribal Council
2. A letter from the Tribal Council
3. Definite proof of a parent belonging to a tribe and applicant's birth certificate with exact names.
You'll notice that in 1 and 3 require some type of evidence that the applicant is indeed a member of a tribe or Indian and 2 requires confirmation by a tribe the applicant is an Indian.
As you may know, there are many families that have *stories* that they are *part* Indian or there is an Indian ancestor in their line, however, unless this is provable, that elusive Indian ancestry remains a myth.
The Smithsonian's National Museum of the Native Americans has no credibility, are you really viewing Native American artifacts there or are you viewing a claim of Indian artifacts. Or do they even care?
The Smithsonian would be well advised to revisit and revise it's requirements for these grants.
Apparently as long as she doesn't *sell* any products the IACB has no jurisdiction to prevent anyone from calling themselves a Native American Artist, in this case a Cherokee Artist.
I find it extremely strange that an artist would do work and then not *sell it*.
The IACB likewise would be well advised to extend their guidelines and regulations of who is an Indian Artist to all those calling themselves an *Indian Artist*.
It does not appear that either the Smithsonian or the IACB is preserving the Art of the American Indian.
Support Authentic Cherokee Art - ask for the Artist's Tribal registration number before you buy!!
Cherokee Style, Cherokee Heritage and Cherokee Descent all mean non Indian!
For more information and help or to file a complaint on these or any of the growing issues with these *Indian Groups* contact:
Changing Winds - Fraudulent Tribes And The Damage They Cause
National Congress of American Indians - Is your tribe real? Both state and federal recognized tribes are listed here. If it's not listed here your tribe is a fake.
For authentic Cherokee Art and Artists:
Cherokee Basket Weaver's Association
Cherokee Basketweaving Books
Cherokee Artists Association
Cherokees of Orange County