Paul McDaniels, Jr. Kiowa, Beadwork, ©2004

The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, was created by Congress to promote the economic development of American Indian and Alaska Natives (Indian) through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market.

A top priority of the IACB is the implementation and enforcement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (Act) of 1990, as amended, a truth-in-advertising law that provides criminal and civil penalties for marketing products as "Indian-made" when such products are not made by Indians, as defined by the Act.  The IACB also facilitates the participation of Indians in the expanding commercial market for Indian art and craftwork, and promotes economic development through educational seminars, special museum exhibitions, and other promotional endeavors like the online Source Directory of American Indian and Alaska Native Owned and Operated Arts and Crafts Businesses.  Furthermore, the IACB conducts consumer outreach through publications, Indian art and craft markets, and targeted media campaigns.

INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS ACt 

Under the Act, it is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell, any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian tribe resident within the United States.

The Act covers all Indian and Indian-style art and craftwork produced after 1935.  Every art and craft product must be marketed truthfully regarding the Indian heritage and tribal affiliation of the producer so as not to mislead the consumer.

HOW DO YOU REPORT AN ACT VIOLATION?

While the beauty, quality, and collectability of authentic Indian art and craftwork make each piece a unique reflection of our American heritage, it is important that buyers be aware that fraudulent Indian art and craftwork competes daily with authentic Indian art and craftwork in the nationwide marketplace.  The IACB receives and carefully evaluates all complaints of possible Act violations.  While some complaints are outside the scope of the Act, and the IACB administratively handles other Act complaints, additional Act complaints are referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency for further investigation and possible prosecution.  If you become aware of any market activity that you believe may be in violation of the Act, please contact the IACB with the relevant information, such as websites, photographs, suspicious advertising, receipts, business cards, etc.  Complaints may be filed online or by calling its toll free number below.

PURCHASE A TREASURE FROM INDIAN COUNTRY

As part of its program to promote Indian art craftwork, the IACB produces the online Source Directory of American Indian and Alaska Native Owned and Operated Arts and Crafts Businesses.  There are approximately 400 businesses listed in the Source Directory. These businesses include Indian arts and crafts cooperatives and tribal arts and crafts enterprises; businesses and galleries privately owned and operated by individuals, designers, craftspeople, and artists who are enrolled members of federally recognized tribes; and a few nonprofit organizations, managed by enrolled members of federally recognized tribes, that develop and market art and craftwork.

Some of the businesses listed in the Source Directory maintain retail shops or open studios; others sell through the Internet, by appointment, or mail order only.  This information is provided in the listing, along with business hours, contact information, major products, catalog information, mail order, and special services offered.  Businesses are listed alphabetically by state.

BUYING TIPS

To avoid purchasing counterfeit or misrepresented Indian art and craftwork, buy from a reputable dealer.  Ask the dealer for written verification that the item is authentic Indian art or craftwork.  The dealer should be able to provide you with this documentation.  Before buying Indian art and craftwork online, at powwows, annual fairs, and other events, check the website policy page or event vendor requirements regarding the authenticity of products being offered for sale.  Many events list the requirements online, in media advertisements, promotional flyers, and printed programs.  If the event organizers make no statements on compliance with the Act or on the authenticity of art and craftwork offered by participating vendors, you should obtain written verification from the individual vendors that their Indian art or craftwork was produced by tribal members or by certified Indian artisans.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about the IACB and its services to the public, please contact us:

Indian Arts and Crafts Board

U.S. Department of the Interior

Tel: 1-888-ART-FAKE or 1-888-278-3253

Web: www.doi.gov/iacb

Email: [email protected]

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff