Indian Arts & Crafts Act Settlement with Pendleton Woolen Mills Reached

WASHINGTON — The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) of the U.S. Department of the Interior announces a settlement agreement it has signed with Pendleton Woolen Mills (Pendleton).

This agreement resolves concerns raised by the IACB regarding Pendleton’s prior sales of the

This "no image" has replaced Pendleton "Sioux Star Blanket" image on Pendleton's website.

This “no image” has replaced Pendleton “Sioux Star Blanket” image on Pendleton’s website.

through a section of its website labeled “Native American.” The IACB alleged that Pendleton’s marketing of this product violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 25 U.s.C. §305e (Act) because it did not sufficiently make clear that the Blanket was not produced by genuine Indian artisans and therefore did not qualify as an “Indian Product” as defined by the Act.

As part of the agreement, Pendleton recently donated $41,250 to the Red Cloud Indian School’s The Heritage Center in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.

These funds will assist with The Heritage Center’s promotion of Sioux artisans and economic development through the production, promotion, and sales of authentic Sioux art and craftwork, and associated programs.

According to Father George Winzenburg, S.J., President of Red Cloud Indian School, “These resources will enable The Heritage Center to enhance its ongoing work to improve the economic status of Lakota artists and artisans that it serves through the promotion and sale of authentic Indian art in its exhibitions, gift shop and on-line store. It will also assist The Heritage Center to encourage other Tribal members to pursue their creative work and to spur economic development across the Pine Ridge Reservation.”

Additionally, Pendleton has agreed to include a paragraph to help educate consumers about the Act in its print catalogs, on its website, and in marketing materials it distributes to retailers of its Native American inspired products for at least two years. Pendleton also has made changes to its internet marketing to ensure against any customer confusion regarding the origins of its products.

The IACB is pleased that this agreement will not only benefit Sioux artists and artisans, but also help to raise the understanding of and compliance with the Act through greater consumer awareness.

For more information on the Act, a truth-in-marketing law which carries civil and criminal penalties and prohibits the offer or display for sale, or sale, of any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, and Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian Tribe, please visit the IACB website at or call toll free at 1-888-ART-FAKE or 1-888-278-3253.

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