|Address 1||1849 C Street, NW, MS 2528-MIB|
|State||District of Columbia|
|Address 1||1849 C Street, NW, MS 2528-MIB|
|State||District of Columbia|
The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally recognized Tribes through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market. The IACB provides promotional opportunities, general business advice, and information on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to Native American artists, craftspeople, businesses, museums, and cultural centers of federally recognized Tribes. Additionally, the IACB operates three regional museums, conducts a promotional museum exhibition program, produces a "Source Directory of American Indian and Alaska Native Owned and Operated Arts and Crafts Businesses", and oversees the implementation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
Indian Arts and Crafts Board Mission
The Indian Arts and Crafts Board, an agency located in the U.S. Department of the Interior, was created by Congress to promote the economic development of federally recognized American Indians and Alaska Natives through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market. A top priority of the IACB is the implementation and enforcement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, a truth-in-advertising law that provides criminal and civil penalties for marketing products as "Indian-made" when such products are not made by Indians, as defined by the Act.
The IACB's other activities include providing professional business advice, information on the Act and related marketing issues, fundraising assistance, and promotional opportunities to Native American artists, craftspeople, and cultural organizations of federally recognized Tribes. The IACB operates three regional museums, the Sioux Indian Museum, the Museum of the Plains Indian, and the Southern Plains Indian Museum. The IACB also produces a consumer directory of approximately 400 Native American owned and operated arts and crafts businesses.
These activities are not duplicated in either the federal or private sector. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board is the only federal agency that is consistently and exclusively concerned with the economic benefits and cultural development of federally recognized American Indian and Alaska Natives. The IACB's policies are determined by five commissioners who are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, and serve without compensation. The IACB's activities and programs are carried out by a professional, experienced staff.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product 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. For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a 5-year prison term, or both. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.
Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or officially State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe.
The law covers all Indian and Indian-style traditional and contemporary arts and crafts produced after 1935. The Act broadly applies to the marketing of arts and crafts by any person in the United States. Some traditional items frequently copied by non-Indians include Indian-style jewelry, pottery, baskets, carved stone fetishes, woven rugs, kachina dolls, and clothing.
All products must be marketed truthfully regarding the Indian heritage and tribal affiliation of the producers, so as not to mislead the consumer. It is illegal to market an art or craft item using the name of a tribe if a member, or certified Indian artisan, of that tribe did not actually create the art or craft item.
For example, products sold using a sign claiming "Indian Jewelry" would be a violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act if the jewelry was produced by someone other than a member, or certified Indian artisan, of an Indian tribe. Products advertised as "Hopi Jewelry" would be in violation of the Act if they were produced by someone who is not a member, or certified Indian artisan, of the Hopi tribe.
If you purchase an art or craft product represented to you as Indian-made, and you learn that it is not, first contact the dealer to request a refund. If the dealer does not respond to your request, you can also contact your local Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, and the local District Attorney's office, as you would with any consumer fraud complaint. Second, contact the Indian Arts and Crafts Board with your written complaint regarding violations of the Act.
Before buying Indian arts or crafts at powwows, annual fairs, juried competitions, and other events, check the event requirements on the authenticity of products being offered for sale. Many events list the requirements in newspaper advertisements, promotional flyers, and printed programs. If the event organizers make no statements on compliance with the Act or on the authenticity of Indian arts and crafts offered by participating vendors, you should obtain written certification from the individual vendors that their Indian arts or craftwork were produced by tribal members or by certified Indian artisans.
Violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act
While the beauty, quality, and collectability of authentic Indian arts and crafts make each piece a unique reflection of our American heritage, it is important that buyers be aware that fraudulent Indian arts and crafts compete daily with authentic Indian arts and crafts in the nationwide marketplace. This consumer fraud not only harms the buyers, it also erodes the overall Indian arts and crafts market and the economic and cultural livelihood of Indian artists, craftspeople, and Tribes. It is also against the law! It is a violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. If you become aware of any market activity that you believe may be in violation of the Act, similar to or different from the following examples, please contact the Indian Arts and Crafts Board either online or at:
Indian Arts and Crafts Board
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW MS-2528-MIB
Washington, D.C. 20240
Telephone: (202) 208-3773
Toll Free: (888) ART-FAKE
Fax: (202) 208-5196
During a business trip to New Mexico and Arizona, Harry W. went shopping for Indian jewelry for his girlfriend. Harry W. was impressed with what was offered at a gallery near his convention center hotel as outstanding â€œone-of-a-kindâ€ â€œhandmadeâ€ Indian jewelry by Michael L., which included silver, turquoise, jet, lapis, and other apparent precious stones. The sales clerk represented Michael L. as enrolled in one of the prominent New Mexico Pueblos and reported that he produced each piece from his studio workbench. However, as Harry W. traveled throughout New Mexico and Arizona, he continued to see enormous volumes of work attributed to Michael L. as â€œone-of-a-kindâ€ â€œhandmadeâ€ Indian jewelry. As a result, he became suspicious that the work was not made by one individual, but was being mass-produced. As the various sales clerksâ€™ stories about Michael L. contradicted one another, Harry W. also began to suspect that the jewelry was not even Indian made.
Example 2: Pow wow
Last summer, David B. and his family decided to attend a pow wow in the Midwest to experience Indian dancing, music, and craftwork first hand. After identifying a popular pow wow, David and his family attended the event where they purchased a number of items from a vendorâ€™s booth, including Navajo rug weavings, Zuni inlay jewelry, and Hopi kachinas. For insurance purposes, David took the merchandise to a knowledgeable appraiser, only to find that the work was imported.
Example 3: Internet
Sarah T. was a long-time collector of Alaska Native crafts. In searching the Internet one evening, she found a surprising selection of well-priced Alaska Native carvings, including wooden masks and totems and ivory figurines. She purchased the carvings and requested documentation for each piece. When the shipment arrived, she became suspicious of the carving documentation. Upon further inspection, she noticed a â€œMade in Baliâ€ mark on the back of one of the masks, and areas on the other pieces that appeared to have country of origin markings removed.
Example 4: Artist and Consumer
Mary B., an established potter enrolled in the Navajo Nation, has a friend who recently purchased a piece of pottery marketed as one of Mary B.â€™s for a deep discount from a shop in another town. When the friend showed Mary B. the new purchase, Mary B. became very upset and told him that she had not made the piece of pottery.
Visit our site for the directory of American Indian Artists and to report violations.