Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Just in case...

Are you wondering if that piece of Indian jewelry or that basket you bought while traveling through the south, is authentic Indian art work...or any piece of Indian art work you might purchase...

Another way to determine whether or not an Artist is Native American, if you know the tribe, call their Tribal Registration office and ask....:) Not sure they all have a formal type of registration office but someone in the tribal office will either know them or their family. Most tribes have a web site and make sure you're not dealing with a fake tribe! The DOI/BIA has a website that lists all the recognized tribes as well.

You'll find Tribal staff more than willing to help you and they are very cordial to work with!!

Just's that simple!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Hillerman Dies at 83

(although he wrote many Navajo themed books, Hillerman is not Native American or Navajo)

Hillerman's evocative novels, which describe people struggling to maintain ancient traditions in the modern world, touched millions of readers, who made them best sellers. But although the themes of his books were not overtly political, he wrote with a purpose, he often said, and that purpose was to instill in his readers a respect for Indian culture. The plots of his stories, while steeped in contemporary crime and its consequences, were invariably instructive about ancient tribal beliefs and customs, from purification rituals for a soldier returned from a foreign war to incest taboos for a proper clan marriage.

"It's always troubled me that the American people are so ignorant of these rich Indian cultures," Hillerman once told Publishers Weekly. "I think it's important to show that aspects of ancient Indian ways are still very much alive and are highly germane even to our ways."

Hillerman was not the first mystery writer to set a story on Indian land or to introduce a full-blooded Native American detective to crime literature. In 1946 the grand prize in the first short-story competition of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine went to Manly Wade Wellman for the first of two stories he wrote with an Indian protagonist.

But beginning with "The Blessing Way" in 1970 the 18 novels Hillerman set on Southwest Indian reservations featuring Lieut. Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee of the Navajo Tribal Police, brought a new dimension to the character of the traditional genre hero.

for the full article:

Friday, October 17, 2008

Indian Arts and Crafts Protection Collaborative

Padilla: Combating fake Indian Arts and Crafts: a proposal for action
By Helen B. Padilla

Story Published: Oct 14, 2008
Story Updated: Oct 14, 2008

In 1935, Congress enacted the first of several laws – the Indian Arts and Crafts Act –aimed at putting an end to trafficking in non-genuine Indian arts and crafts. Exactly 70 years later, in 2005, the U.S. Interior Department's inspector general estimated that nearly one-half of the $1 billion generated each year by the market for Indian arts and crafts comes from the sale of non-authentic goods – fakes. Most knowledgeable observers believe that the inspector general's estimate is far too low.

Nearly three-quarters of a century after the federal government acted to protect a critical source of income for many Native artisans and their tribal communities, they still benefit from only a fraction of the income generated by that market. A large part of the fake goods in the U.S. market is produced overseas and then sold in the United States at prices that undercut what Native artisans need to charge for their work to make a viable living.

Perhaps even more alarming than the economic impact, the huge number of fakes in the marketplace puts the cultural knowledge and value embodied in, and transmitted by, Native arts and crafts at risk. The consequences of this massive swindle are all too sadly familiar – livelihoods damaged, traditions compromised and tribal economies undermined.

The laws enacted specifically to deal with the problem of fakes – the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and its state counterparts – have been ineffective in stopping the problem. A major reason for the ineffectiveness of the current laws is that these are consumer protection/truth-in-advertising laws. As such, they focus on wrongdoing at the level of individual retail transactions. In a $1 billion-a-year market, this sporadic prosecution of individual retailers is little more than an exercise in futility. Clearly, there is a need to tackle the problem using other creative methods.

One such mechanism is the federal international trade laws. The U.S. laws that regulate international trade are broadly effective in protecting our economy from injurious imports and could serve as the basis for a highly effective enforcement initiative targeting imported fakes, particularly if these trade laws were used in conjunction with the existing consumer protection laws. An enforcement initiative utilizing the U.S. trade statutes (particularly Section 337 of the Tariff Act of 1930: 19 U.S.C. § 1337), would start the enforcement effort at the other end of the distribution chain by targeting the importation of fakes into the United States and their distribution by dishonest wholesalers after they enter the United States.

These laws all provide for a private right of action; that is, they can be invoked by parties other than federal and state law enforcement agencies. Tribal governments and individual Native artists can bring suit under these federal international trade statutes to stop the sale of fake Indian arts and crafts. By taking responsibility for enforcing these federal statutes through private litigation, Indian tribes that are directly harmed by their violation can take specific, concrete steps to halt this long-running attack on the economies and culture of Native people. The American Indian Law Center Inc., the country's oldest Indian-controlled and Indian-operated legal and policy nonprofit organization, located in Albuquerque, N.M., is coordinating such an enforcement effort.

The AILC's first step will be to invite all interested stakeholders, including tribal governments, Native American arts and crafts cooperatives, and individual artisans to participate in the Indian Arts and Crafts Protection Collaborative. The purpose of the collaborative will ultimately be to instigate legal action using federal international trade laws to stem the tide of fake Indian arts and crafts illegally entering the U.S.

The collaborative will, in time, bring private litigation at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, D.C., and, subsequently, in federal district court seeking broad injunctive relief barring the importation and trafficking in fake Indian arts and crafts as well as monetary damages from large U.S. distributors engaged in such trafficking. The outcome of this effort would be twofold: the work of Native artisans could once more be priced at its true value, and the integrity of the cultural and economic well-being of Native artists and their tribal communities would be effectively protected.

At the National Congress of American Indians' 65th annual convention in Phoenix next Friday, Oct. 24, the NCAI's General Assembly will vote on a resolution of support for the enforcement initiative outlined above. On Tuesday, Oct. 21 at 6:30 p.m., this enforcement initiative will be the subject of a special breakout session. I urge the tribal governments to support this resolution. More importantly, I urge the formation of a broad coalition of tribal governments, arts and crafts organizations, individual artists, and other individuals and organizations committed to authenticity in Native arts and crafts to come together to support and to participate in this initiative by joining the collaborative.

Helen Padilla, a Native of Isleta Pueblo, is the new director of the American Indian Law Center Inc. A licensed attorney practicing Indian law, she is also chair-elect of the Indian Law section of the State Bar of New Mexico and vice chair of the Laguna Gaming Control Board

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Beadwork Storytellers

Media only: Judy Pierce (918) 456-6007, ext. 230
Beadwork Storytellers – a Visual Language Exhibit
opens at the Cherokee Heritage Center

PARK HILL, Okla. – This exhibition brings together southeastern beaded artifacts that currently reside all over the world, back to the local descendants of their creators for a one-time special showing. Beginning October 11, 2008 Beadwork Storytellers – a Visual Language Exhibit will be on display through April 19, 2009 at the Cherokee Heritage Center. The exhibition is closed the month of January.

The exhibition features approximately 30 superb historical southeastern beaded artifacts and 20 of the most remarkable contemporary beadworks ever produced. In addition there will be rare photos along with other rare items that provide us with a spectacular view of true southeastern beadwork craftsmanship. Learn the stories and history that have been passed down for generations through threads, textiles and beads.

Cherokee Heritage Center, Curator, Mickel Yantz and guest Curator, Martha Berry collaborated with private collections and numerous museums throughout the world including the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, the Denver Art Museum, the American Museum of National History, the Autry National Center and many more. Funding is made possible in part by a grant from the Cherokee Nation Enterprises.

On Saturday, November 1, 2008 the Cherokee Heritage Center will host a reception from 2 pm to 4 pm open to the public. During this one-time reception there will be no admission charge to the Cherokee Heritage Center

The Cherokee Heritage Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on this exhibition please contact the Cherokee Heritage Center at (918) 456-6007, toll free at (888) 999-6007, or visit the website at

Indian Arts and Craft Bill expands investigative arm of BIA, FBI and DOJ

September 30, 2008

Senate approves important update to Indian Arts and Crafts Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Senate (John McCain is the sponsor of this bill) unanimously passed S. 1255, The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act, which strengthens the investigative and enforcement authorities of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. The bill was authored by Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). It passed Sept. 23. "Native American arts and crafts are the only art indigenous to America," Kyl said when he first introduced the bill.

"In authentic reproductions and mass-produced knockoffs undercut sales of genuine articles and undermine traditional artisans' techniques. It would be a tremendous loss to the entire country's cultural heritage to lose these traditions."

The original Indian Arts and Crafts Act, co-authored by Kyl when he was a member of the House of Representatives, was enacted to protect Indian artists and craftspeople, businesses, tribes and consumers from the growing sales of arts and crafts wrongly represented as being produced by Native Americans. A "truth-in-advertising" law with civil and criminal provisions, it prohibits the marketing of products as "Indian made" when they are not made by Indians.

The legislation expands the investigative authority under the original act. Other federal law enforcement entities, such as the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Law Enforcement, in addition to the FBI, may investigate cases of misrepresentation and work with Department of Justice attorneys to prosecute the cases.

"Since the original act was passed, it has become clear that the law enforcement provisions need to be strengthened," Kyl said. "The improvements made in this legislation will help to increase the number of complaints that are investigated and prosecuted.

"This is legislation that everyone can agree is important and necessary," Kyl added. "It's my hope that the House will act on it this year."

The bill must now receive approval in the House of Representatives before the end of the congressional session if it is to become law.

to track the bill S-1255: