New Law Cracks Down on Native American Counterfeits

This horse mask by Juanita Growing Thunder Fogarty is part of the collection at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. Credit: Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

Good news on Capitol Hill for Native American artists: the new Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act, signed by President Obama in July, helps protect Native American craftspeople and consumers from fraudulent artwork.

“The act is good news because it increases economic development and job opportunities for Native Americans who produce and market authentic Indian art, while cracking down on counterfeit marketers who are hurting sales of this authentic Indian work,” says Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior.

The new law strengthens the existing Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell or offer any craft item in a manner that falsely suggests it is produced by a Native American, or the product of a particular tribe. The new legislation expands federal law enforcement’s ability to enforce the act, and harshens the penalties for violations.

The total market for American Indian and Alaska native crafts in the U.S. is estimated at $1 billion. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board in Washington, D.C., is tasked with administering and enforcing the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act. For more information, visit www.iacb.doi.gov.

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