The Coyote's Game Blog

Coyote's Game Native American Beadwork & Crafts

16. January 2013 06:13
by Lynne

Canadian First People Protest Budget Bill & Demand Rights

16. January 2013 06:13 by Lynne | 0 Comments

Native Americans in Canada are using fasting and civil disobedience to protest a 2012 budget bill that First People and critics say makes it easier to sell reserve lands and weakens environmental safeguards for Canadian lakes and rivers.

Teresa Spence, chief of the Attawapiskat Tribe, has been fasting on fish broth and medicinal tea for over 30 days, in an attempt to start a dialog with the current government.   Other First Nation chiefs have joined her. They hope to address concerns over the recent budget bill as well as unfulfilled promises dating back to 1900 about indigenous participation in developing natural resources and other benefits.

In recent developments, Ms. Spence refused to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Her reason for boycotting the meeting is that many of the treaty rights at issue date back to British control of Canada and were established by royal proclamation.  Ms. Spence said that she was willing to attend a ceremonial meeting with Governor General David Johnston.

However, Shawn Atleo, Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and some other Native leaders met with the Prime Minister on Friday January 11, and agreed to a future meeting. Topics of the meeting will be treaty rights, education and employment opportunities.

Various Canadian Native rights groups, including Idle No More (INM) are supporting the protest. During 2012, members of INM held marches, highway blockades and flash mob protests with Native drumming and dancing to call attention to various demands. Spokespeople for Idle No More have stated that their quarrel is not with the Canadian people, but with the current government.

For more information on this story see:

12. November 2012 10:45
by Lynne

Seller Beware

12. November 2012 10:45 by Lynne | 0 Comments

Beading is a skilled craft and fine beadwork an art.  For many Native people, beadwork is part of tribal culture, a skill handed down from generation to generation.  Because beadwork is used to make adornments for children as well as adults, and because some is classified as jewelry, it is regulated by law. 

At present, U.S. consumer safety laws do not require any special documents to import beads and jewelry findings.  Nor do they restrict beadwork and beaded jewelry for adults.  However, the 2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act does regulate all products intended for children.

Only the State of California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law and Proposition 65 require special documents proving adult jewelry components meet their safety standards.  Anyone who lives or works in California, or who sells to customers from California must comply with both of these laws.

California requires all manufacturers to provide certificates showing that their products comply with California law, and Proposition 65 requires anyone employing 10 or more people selling or distributing products in the State of California to include warning labels.  These labels must state that the product contains specified hazardous materials or, that the product may contain a hazardous material.

With some exceptions, most beadwork for adults falls into the second category.  The warning reads:  “This product may contain a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.”  There are two reasons why the warning is required.

First, because the chemicals listed in Proposition 65 are reviewed twice a year.  California's logic is that just because beading components are not classified as harmful now, some chemical used for coloring or lining the beads may be found to cause harm in the future.  Use of warning labels protects jewelry makers from unintentionally breaking the law.

Second, although these laws were intended to regulate things like cast lead jewelry charms for children, they have resulted in a flood of lawsuits that include possible harm to adults—not always because it was proven that someone got cancer from the product, but because they “might” get cancer.  Without the warning, at some future date, the seller or maker of beaded jewelry may find themself in court trying to prove that their jewelry didn’t cause harm.  Even though most beaders don't employ 10 or more people and are exempt from Proposition 65's warning, no one is exempt from the threat of lawsuits.

Certainly children should be protected from toxic materials.  But how far we should go to protect adults from possible harm caused by swallowing or inhaling something that was clearly meant only to be worn externally as jewelry, is debatable.  I suspect the adult provisions in these laws have more to do with the fact that today stupidity is profitable and benefits the legal profession, than with controlling potentially harmful substances.

And it seems a pity that in order to protect ourselves from lawsuits, we should be forced to put scary warnings on something meant to bring beauty and joy to our lives.

28. September 2012 06:10
by Lynne

Native American News from Here and There

28. September 2012 06:10 by Lynne | 0 Comments

Bills Introduced to Refund Esther Martinez Native American Language Act

Funding for the Esther Martinez Native American Language Act expires at the end of this year.  Passed in 2006, the law was designed to support programs in tribal communities for restoration and immersion in endangered Native languages.

Companion bills to refund the Act have been introduced in the U.S. House and Senate.  The House bill is sponsored by a bipartisan group of legislators from New Mexico.

The Act was named for Esther Martinez, a member of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, located in the State of New Mexico, who kept her Tewa language despite being punished for speaking it through years of boarding school.

For more information on this story:

Urban Outfitters Asks Judge for Change of Venue

In Feburary 2012, the Navajo Nation sued Urban Outfitters for their unauthorized use of the name “Navajo” for a line of clothing with Native American style patterns.

According to KRQE News 13, Urban Outfitters has asked the judge to move the case from New Mexico to Pennsylvania where the company is based.  Reasons given for the request are that it would be more convenient and the case would be handled more quickly.

The KRQE story adds that the reporter found no federally recognized Indian tribes currently in the State of Pennsylvania.

27. September 2012 06:12
by Lynne

How Current Lead-in-Jewelry Laws Affect the Beading Industry

27. September 2012 06:12 by Lynne | 0 Comments

A fair amount has been written about jewelry and current laws regulating the amount of lead and other toxic substances in products for children as well as adults.  At the risk of adding to the mass of information already on-line, here is how we believe these laws impact the beaded jewelry craft industry.

Even if you don’t make beaded jewelry designed for children, if children are able to wear the jewelry (such as necklaces, earrings, barrettes, bracelets), for your own protection you should be aware of current laws.

These laws were passed because in the United States several children have died or become seriously ill from chewing on or swallowing jewelry parts made of lead coated with another material or jewelry parts having a high lead content.

The US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

The main law that must be considered is the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of 2008.  This law limits the amount of lead and other toxic materials in products intended for children age 12 and under.  On August 2011 the amount of lead allowed in children’s products was reduced to 100 parts per million (1%).   Products with a higher amount of lead covered by surface coating or electroplating are not allowed.  Thus, parts and findings made of electroplated lead are not safe for children.  The amount of lead in paint and surface coatings may not be higher than 0.009 percent (90 parts per million).

In addition, anyone making products intended for children under age 12 must age grade their products and follow other standards set out in the law:    CPSIA also regulates products not intended for children.  To see a list of these products, go to .

One important section of CPSIA that beaders and jewelry crafters who make children’s products need to keep in mind is the ban on small parts for children under 3 years old.  The Act defines a small part as any object that fits into a cylinder 1-1/4” in diameter x 2-1/4” long.  The term “small part” includes:  (1) a whole toy or article; (2) a separate part of a toy, game, or other article; (3) a piece of a toy or article that breaks off during testing that simulates use or abuse by children.  This definition makes most beaded jewelry illegal for children under 3.   

The term “beads” includes everything from Swarovski crystals to heishi to plastic pony beads.  Most beaders who sell their work to stores and at craft fairs use glass beads of one type of another and this article will deal mainly with glass.

Glass beads are manufactured in various countries.  Companies each have their own manufacturing method.  Some use lead in the glass making process, others don't.  For example, Miyuki, who makes Delica beads, states that they do not use any lead in the actual glass making process, but some of their slips and linings contain lead.

Most bead manufacturers have a contact email address on their website.  If you use beads from one or two manufacturers exclusively, we recommend you contact them and ask about lead content.  Some bead manufacturers have already posted information on line about lead in their product.  One of these is Kandi Corp. that makes Swarovski crystals.  Beaders who use Swarovski crystals in their work should read their lead content statement    

At least two states have passed laws restricting the amount of lead and other dangerous materials in children’s products—Illinois and California.  While these laws are essentially superseded by the CPSIA, until the provisions of California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law are tested in court, jewelry makers must comply with it.  California’s Proposition 65, which requires warning labels on any products that contain toxic materials, affects all jewelry makers who work in or ship to California.

The California Lead-Containing Jewelry Law

In 2009 California passed a Lead-Containing Jewelry Law to protect children from jewelry containing high amounts of lead—the amount of lead varies depending on the type of material.  The law also restricts use of any part with more than 3% cadmium (300 parts per million). 

California's law breaks materials into three classes.  No jewelry, for children or adults, may be manufactured in, sold in, offered for promotional purposes, or shipped to California that does not exclusively use materials from one or more of their three classes.

Class 1 materials are precious metals (gold, silver, etc.) stainless or surgical steel, natural or cultured pearls, most but not all gemstones, natural decorative materials such as shell, wood and leather provided they have not been treated in a way that adds lead, adhesives, and “glass, ceramic, or crystal decorative components, including cat’s eye, cubic zirconia . . ., rhinestones and cloisonné.”   There are additional restrictions for children’s jewelry that craftspeople should check out.  BellaOnLine has an excellent summary of this law as it relates to children’s jewelry.

Class 2 materials include electroplated metal with less than 6% lead by weight, unplated metals with less than 1.5% lead, plastic or rubber including beads and stones that contain less than 2% lead by weight and have a dye or surface coating with less than 6% lead by weight.

A Class 3 material is any part of a piece of jewelry that’s not a Class 1 or 2 material and that contains less than 6% lead by weight, including watch timepieces.

The State of California has an on-line fact sheet that explains the law in detail.    While many beading materials fall within one of the three classes of acceptable materials, it’s a good idea for jewelry makers to know the law and then check with their suppliers.

We asked a representative of the California Dept. of Toxic Substances Control if jewelry suppliers and retailers are required by law to warn customers that jewelry parts may not meet legal standards for children's jewelry.  The answer is "no."  

However, manufacturers and suppliers who sell to retailers are required to include a certificate stating that their products do comply with levels of cadmium and lead under the law.   The certificate can either be displayed prominently in jewelry packaging or in the shipping container.   This means that no one selling jewelry or jewelry making supplies in the State of California should be selling products that don't comply with the law.

As far as the individual beader or jewelry maker is concerned, unless the package containing jewelry making materials has a children's age warning somewhere on it, as do many products from Hobby Lobby, it's up the customer to ask whether the items they're buying are okay for use in children's jewelry. 

California Proposition 65

Proposition 65 requires businesses that employ 10 or more people to include warning labels on products containing lead or chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity.  Anyone making beaded jewelry who has less than 10 employees doesn’t need to put warning labels on their products.  However, if you sell to a store or distributor with 10 or more employees, it’s likely that you’ll need to include the warning.

Chris Franchetti Michaels points out in her BellaOnLine article that, as a beader, it’s wise to let your customers know in an honest and personal way that the beads you use do contain some lead, and should not be given to children as gifts, nor should children be allowed to play with them.  It’s also a good idea to include pets in the warning although no current law mentions them, since dogs and cats will chew on things they find lying around.

Canadian Hazardous Products Act

Most countries in the world have laws covering toxic materials, particularly in children’s products. Anyone who sells beaded jewelry on-line should be aware of laws in the countries where they do business, whether they use Etsy, eBay or have their own web site.

Canada is right next door and, with the U.S./Canadian free trade agreement, it’s logical to sell to our neighbors.  Item 42 of the Canadian Hazardous Products Act went into effect in 2008.  Glass and crystal jewelry parts are specifically named in the law.  It prohibits the importation, advertisement or sale of any jewelry intended for children under age 15 that contains more than 600 mg/kg of total lead and more than 90 mg/kg of migratable lead.  “Migratable lead” is the amount of lead which is released from a product when it is brought into contact with a liquid solvent.  It’s also important to note the age Canada defines as a “child.”

Last year, Canada Health announced a ban on cadmium in children’s jewelry, restricting the level of cadmium to .013%.   To read Item 42 of the Hazardous Products Act:

The European Union’s Toy Safety Directive

In 2009 the EU strengthened existing laws on child safety.  “Child” is defined by the new directive as anyone under the age of 14, which is two years older than the CPSIA’s definition.   Although the law is called the Toy Safety Directive, it includes “gray area” products such as items for collectors, historical replicas and “fashion accessories which are not used in play.”  Beaded jewelry and clothing adornments fall into this category.

Strict limits are put on the amount of nickel in children’s products and no intentionally used lead is permitted.  Since many of the glass beads used in beadwork come from EU countries, the manufacturers need to comply with EU laws, but that only means they consider the beads safe for adults.  For more information on the Toy Safety Directive use this link:    


These laws make it difficult for beaders and jewelry makers because of the need to make sure all of their materials comply with various laws.  For children’s jewelry, the CPSIA should be the baseline.  Jewelry intended for adults can include beads and findings that are not legal for children’s jewelry, but it’s a good idea to keep California’s Lead-Containing Jewelry Law in mind.  As things now stand, the burden of determining if jewelry making materials meet California's standards for children is on the jewelry maker--not on the supplier or retailer.

If you sell outside the United States it’s essential to read the laws of the country you’re exporting to, because they’re different from ours.  If you sell at craft fairs, flea markets or on-line, there may be no way of knowing where the buyer lives or who they’re buying for.  Native beaders who sell a variety of beadwork at craft fairs should rethink offering beaded children’s items such as baby mocs and baby barrettes.  It’s now illegal to sell any beaded jewelry for children under age 3 except jewelry using large pieces of material meeting the size requirement that have 1% or less lead content.

Common sense can help avoid problems and law suits.  If you design for adults and suspect someone is buying for a child, gently tell them that the beaded item is not intended for children under a certain age and can be harmful.