Monday, October 29, 2007

Cherokee Artists Act in the Rules Committee

The Act passed unanimously out of the Rules Committee and now goes to the full council for a vote.


An Act

Legislative Act ___________



Section 1. Title

This act shall be known as the “Cherokee Nation Truth in Advertising for Native Art” and codified as Title ______ Section ______ of the Cherokee Nation Code Annotated.

Section 2. Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish guidelines for the purchase, promotion and sale of genuine Native American arts and crafts within the Cherokee Nation and by Cherokee Nation entities. This Act is further intended to encourage and allow Cherokee artists to be diverse, creative as well as traditionally influenced and to continue the use of traditional materials as well as use new mediums.

Section 3. Legislative Authority

Article VI Section 7 of the Cherokee Nation Constitution states: “The Council shall have the power to establish laws which it shall deem necessary and proper for the good of the Nation, which shall not be contrary to the provisions of this Constitution. The style of all bills shall be: “Be It Enacted By the Cherokee Nation”. The Style of all resolutions shall be “Be It Resolved By the Cherokee Nation”.

Section 4. Definitions

(a) Art is an object or action that is made with the intention of stimulating the human senses as well as the human mind and/or spirit regardless of any functional uses. For purposes of this act, Art also includes crafts, hand made items, traditional story telling, contemporary art or techniques oral histories, other performing arts and printed materials.

(b) Cherokee Nation means the government its agencies and instrumentalities including but not limited to Cherokee Nation Businesses, Cherokee Nation Enterprises, Cherokee Nation Industries and Housing Authority of the Cherokee Nation, any component units of the Cherokee Nation and any entities in which the Cherokee Nation is the sole or majority stock holder or owner.

(c) Indian means a citizen or member, not individually adopted, of a federally recognized Indian entity evidenced under the “Federal Recognized Indian Tribe List Act of 1994,” PL 103-454, November 2, 1994, 25 U.S.C. §479a, as amended.

(d) Indian Art means Art produced by an Indian.

(e) Indian Artist means an Indian who produces Art.

Section 5. Substantive Provisions

(a) The Cherokee Nation shall not knowingly offer for sale art that is produced by individuals who falsely claim, imply, or suggest that they are Indian.

(b) The Cherokee Nation shall not host, sponsor, fund, or otherwise devote or contribute any resource to Art exhibits allowing the exhibition of works by Artists who falsely claim, imply, or suggest that they are Indian.

(c) The Tribal Employment Rights Office (T.E.R.O.) shall maintain a voluntary registry of Cherokee Artists and their contact information.

(d) The Principal Chief shall cause to be published an inventory of all Indian art owned by the Cherokee Nation, and such listing shall be accessible to the public.

(e) The Principal Chief shall cause to be developed a label or other form of identification to be placed upon or with any Indian Art or Craft sold by the Cherokee Nation or its entities. This is to ensure and identify the object being sold as authentic Indian Art.

Section 6. Provisions as cumulative

The provisions of this act shall be cumulative to existing law.

Section 7. Severability

The provisions of this act are severable and if any part of provision hereof shall be held void the decision of the court so holding shall not affect or impair any of the remaining parts or provisions of this act.

Section 8. Effective Date

This act shall become effective sixty (60) days after its passage in accordance with the Cherokee Nation Constitution.

Enacted by the Council of the Cherokee Nation on the _____________day of _________, 200__.

Meredith Frailey, Speaker
Council of the Cherokee Nation


Don Garvin, Secretary
Council of the Cherokee Nation

Approved and signed by the Principal Chief this day of______________, 200___.

Chadwick Smith, Principal Chief
Cherokee Nation

Melanie Knight, Secretary of State
Cherokee Nation

Cara Cowan Watts
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council
District 7 - Will Rogers
P.O. Box 2922
Claremore, OK 74018
C: 918 752-4342
F: 918 341-3753

Cherokee Arts and Humanities Council seeks assimilation through the Indian Arts

A Response to the “Cherokee Nation Arts and Crafts Authenticity Act of 2007” being proposed before the Cherokee Nation Council


This desire to define what constitutes "authentic" Indian art really comes down to a need to control the imagery and vision of Indian artists at times. As for legitimate fears of invasions against Cherokee artist and their works we can rely on the American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 to protect Cherokee artist (The Act makes it unlawful to offer or display for sale or sell any good in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian, or Indian tribe, or Indian arts and crafts organization resident within the United States). To protect their monetary interest in the C.N. we can rely on the Nation not to purchase art by those without membership in a federally recognized Cherokee tribe.

In an essay titled "What is Native American Art?" Edwin Wade writes: "Vital arts change. If ever we should succeed in truly defining Indian art, that definition would be an epitaph. But if we remove the restraints of stereotype and allow the creative impetus full rein, we can observe the development of an exciting art that draws on the richness of its own past as it continually recreates itself for the future.”

It is the cumulative opinion of the board of directors of the Cherokee Arts & Humanities Council, Inc. that Native visual arts and humanities, like Native cultures generally, have evolved through the course of the twentieth century. From paintings of daily life, to depictions of ceremonial events, to the visualizations of myth, to meditations on nature, to self-reflection, to political analyses; from figuration to abstrac­tion, to installation and performance, the development of Native art is a record of tribal histories and communities filtered through the alembic of individual perception, and NOT through the legislative processes of a government.

We Believe:

We believe Cherokee government and its entities, the public sector, and private sector have an obligation to make investments in creativity and cultural heritage, the arts and humanities; that the arts and humanities are an investment in the education of our Cherokee children, in the well being of our communities, in the strength of our economy, and in sharing a better understanding of what it is to be culturally and traditionally Cherokee at home and throughout the world. We believe our community should avoid using the term “wannabe.” As we believe using the terms “legitimate” and “genuine” to validate people’s identity and work is dangerous. We believe the greater good can be achieved by educating everyone and the art community will prosper accordingly. We believe there are many identities, values and variances within the art community, which we strive to reflect.

We support:
a.) Alternative, community-based systems treating neither the artwork nor the artist as a commodity.
b.) Eliminating all laws which seek to restrict or censor artistic expression, including withholding of government funds for political or moral content.
c.) Increased funding for the arts appropriate to their essential social role at all levels of government: Local, State, Tribal and Federal.
d.) Community-funded programs employing local artists to enrich their communities through public art programs. These could include, but would not be limited to, public performances, exhibitions, murals on public buildings, design or re-design of parks and public areas, storytelling and poetry reading, and publication of local writers.
e.) The establishment of non-profit public forums for local artists to display their talents and creations. Research, public dialogue, and trial experiments to develop alternative systems for the valuation and exchange of artworks and for the financial support of artists (e.g. community subscriber support groups, artwork rental units, cooperative support systems among artists, legal or financial incentives to donate to the arts or to donate artworks to the Cherokee National Museum, or other Cherokee museum).
f.) Responsible choices of non-toxic, renewable, or recyclable materials and choosing funding sources not connected with social injustice or environmental destruction.
g.) Education programs in the community that will energize the creativity of every community member from the youngest to the oldest, including neglected groups such as teenagers, senior citizens, etc. These programs would provide materials and access to interested, qualified arts educators to every member of the community who demonstrates an interest.
h.) Incorporating arts education studies and activities into every school curriculum with appropriate funding and staffing. We also encourage local artists and the community to contribute time, experience, and resources to these efforts.
i.) Diversity in arts education in the schools, including age-specific hands-on activities and appreciative theoretical approaches, exposure to the arts of Cherokee culture and stylistic tradition, and experience with a variety of media, techniques and contents.
j.) The integration of the arts and artistic teaching methods into other areas of the curriculum to promote a holistic perspective.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Changing Winds

Changing Winds is a Native American organization that works with Native Tribes to prevent the misuse of funding by Non Tribal members in the Public School system.

This is not the only type of work they do, but misuse of Title VII funds has become a real problem within the public school system and which takes needed funding from Native American Tribes.

The public schools promote non tribal members in order to obtain funding for Native American programs within their schools.

If a person is a non tribal member, there is usually a reason, some of which include, inability to prove their Indian lines or blood quantum requirements of the tribes or an inability to prove one's family line back to a specific tribal roll. The most common is an inability to prove a *family story* that one is of Indian descent. It is unfortunate that some families particularly of Mexican/Spanish descent, felt the need to claim they were Indian to prevent discrimination in early years, however, in most cases, these claims by the time they got to the 3rd or 4th generation of the *stories beginnings* were taken as truth.

To allow these same individuals to promulgate the same illusion *of Indian Descent* through our public school system is even more unfortunate.

Wall of Shame - Non Registered *Indians*

This is a listing of folks who sell their *Indian* products but are not registered with a tribe, i.e. they have no tribal numbers. They imply that they are authentic Indian by claiming Indian Descent:

Murv Jacob and Debbie Duval - this gentleman claims descent from a group of Kentucky Cherokees - neither state nor federally recognized

Robin McBride Scott - she claims to not sell her art work - but claims to be a *Cherokee Artist* - more photos:

Jackie Carlson - this lady doesn't even claim Indian descent - but apparently associates herself with Peggy Brennen, who is a registered Cherokee and Robin McBride Scott to give her work *Authentic Cherokee* status.