17. April 2012 06:24
Most people are aware of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. It was designed to be a “truth in marketing” law to prevent non-American Indian made products from being advertised as Native American.
One researcher estimated that of the over $1 billion dollars worth of American Indian hand crafts and arts sold in the U.S. half of it—50%--was imitations mostly made abroad. This includes baskets, pottery, rugs, silver and beadwork; pretty much the entire spectrum of Native American crafts. That’s a staggering figure.
In 2006 90% of the Native American people living in the Southwest depended on arts and crafts as either their main or secondary source of income. When you add Native people living in other parts of the country, it’s easy to see the need for this law.
Under the Arts and Crafts Act an Indian is defined as a person enrolled in a federally recognized tribe, a state recognized tribe, or an Alaska Native. A person certified by a recognized Indian tribe as a non-member Indian artisan may also sell their work as Indian made.