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Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today highlighted the importance of legislation President Obama just signed into law that promotes economic opportunities for Native American artists and craftspeople and protects consumers from fraudulent art and craftwork.
"The Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act is good news because it increases economic development and job opportunities for Native Americans who produce and market authentic Indian art and craftwork while cracking down on counterfeit marketers who are hurting sales of this authentic Indian work," said Secretary Salazar. The total market for American Indian and Alaska Native arts and crafts in the United States is estimated at a billion dollars, with an unknown but substantial amount of those sales going to misrepresented, non-authentic works.
The Secretary joined President Obama and Tribal leaders from across the nation yesterday at a White House signing ceremony for the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act and Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010. The ceremony focused on the role of the law in helping tribal leaders combat violence and increase safety on Indian reservations by providing law enforcement resources.
The new law also strengthens the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell or offer or display for sale 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 Tribe.
"The law signed by President Obama yesterday expands our ability to enforce the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by authorizing all federal law enforcement officers to conduct investigations of those who fraudulently market arts and crafts as Indian-made in violation of the Act," the Secretary said.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), a federal agency under the Department of the Interior, administers and enforces the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. Before President Obama signed the new legislation into law yesterday, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was the only federal law enforcement agency with statutory authority to investigate alleged Indian Arts and Crafts Act violations. Under the new law, the IACB may refer potential Act violations for investigation to all federal law enforcement officers--including those from Department of the Interior bureaus, and can work with federal law enforcement officers who uncover violations of the Act in the course of their regular duties.
In addition, the new legislation strengthens the penalties for violations of the Act by imposing harsher penalties on those involved in more significant sales of arts and crafts misrepresented as Indian-made. For fraudulent works with a total sales transaction amount of $1,000 or more, a first-time violation by an individual will result in a fine of up to $250,000, imprisonment of up to five years, or both. A first-time violation by a business will result in a fine of up to $1 million.
For smaller cases with first-time violators, if the total sale amount is less than $1,000, an individual will face a fine of up to $25,000, imprisonment of up to a year, or both, and a business will face a fine of up to $100,000. In the case of a subsequent violation, regardless of the amount for which any item is offered or displayed for sale, or sold, an individual could be fined, imprisoned for up to 15 years, or both; and a business could be fined up to $5 million.
Established by Congress in 1935, the IACB promotes authentic Native American art and craftwork of members of federally recognized Tribes, as well as to implementing the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. For more information, see http://www.iacb.doi.gov .
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To Report a Violation
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
Example 1: Retail
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 “one-of-a-kind” “handmade” 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 “one-of-a-kind” “handmade” 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 clerks’ 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 vendor’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 “Made in Bali” 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.’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.
To Report A Potential Violation
If you wish to report a potential violation, please fill out the following information:
Name of Potential Violation:
(Click submit to complete all information needed for your report.)
Please only press the submit button once. The system may take some time to process your form submission. If after 60 seconds you have not received a confirmation, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 1-888-278-3253 for assistance.
I'll be hitting that submission button frequently.
might be worth pinning that!
Bumping this to refresh some visitors memories.