Monday, September 22, 2008

Knock-offs hurt Authentic Native American Artists

Native American artists say counterfeits, knock-offs hurt them

Earl's Resstaurant in Gallup is internationally known for its fine food and offerings of Native American art.

Copyright © 2008
Gallup Independent
By Karen Francis

Diné Bureau

GALLUP — Earl’s Restaurant in Gallup has been a tourist and local hotspot for decades with vendors on-site who have sold their arts and crafts directly to customers for generations.

With an estimated 1,000 vendors coming in to the restaurant to sell on a good weekend, it’s no wonder that some can slip by and misrepresent themselves or their products, though any misrepresentation is not tolerated, Ralph Richards, one of the owners of Earl’s, said.

When such an incident happens, Richards said that the restaurant has a three strike policy. For the first incident, a vendor cannot sell there for 30 days. A second violation prohibits a vendor from selling for 60 days. With a third violation, the vendor is out for good.

Counterfeits and cheap knock-offs of Indian arts and crafts jewelry affect the marketplace, where vendors have to sell their items at lower costs or resort to using cheaper material to sell at the lower cost.

“These imports have forced them to compete on that market level,” Richards said.

Angie Gray Benito, a vendor who sets up in the restaurant parking lot, agreed. She has been selling there since the restaurant was located across the street from its current location.

“They go around selling them real low. That hurts our stuff that we hand make,” she said.

Bryan Ben, a vendor who walks around inside the restaurant selling handmade pottery, said that misrepresentation also affects him.

(for the rest of the story, see the link above)