Inter-Tribal Resolution Supports Oklahoma State Bill to Protect Native Artisans

American Indian art by Dana Tiger

American Indian art by Dana Tiger

Published April 9, 2016

TULSA–The Inter-Tribal Council unanimously passed a resolution Friday in support of Oklahoma House Bill 2261 that proposes a change in the definition of who can sell “Indian art” under the American Indian Arts and Crafts Sales Act of 1974.

The quarterly meeting of the elected leaders from the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek and Seminole tribes was held at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Collectively, the Five Tribes represent nearly 700,000 tribal citizens throughout the United States.

H.B. 2261 is authored by State Rep. Chuck Hoskin (D-Vinita) and State Sen. John Sparks (D-Norman), Cherokee Nation citizens.

“We appreciate the Inter-Tribal Council for supporting this issue, which will close a loophole here in Oklahoma,” said Hoskin, who also serves as the Cherokee Nation’s chief of staff. “This bill ensures Oklahoma takes a firm position in preserving the integrity and authenticity of American Indian arts and artisans, and that should be important to the state of Oklahoma, as we are home to 39 federally recognized tribes.”

The bill, which passed unanimously in the Oklahoma House of Representatives by a 90-0 vote, was approved by the Senate Business and Commerce Committee this week and will now head to a full vote of the Oklahoma State Senate.

Hoskin said it will better protect both Indian artists and consumers by ensuring people who falsely claim tribal citizenship will not be able to market themselves and their crafts as Native.

The proposal defines “American Indian tribe” as any Indian tribe federally recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and, further, defines “American Indian” as a citizen or enrolled member of an American Indian tribe.

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