Senate Committee Seeks Opinions on Proposed Indian Arts and Crafts Act Update

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, released a dialogue draft of proposed legislation that would improve enforcement of legal guidelines against faux Native art. 

In a statement, Schatz said the Indian Affairs committee is trying to find community comment on the proposed Amendments to Regard Standard Indigenous Talent and Talent (ARTIST) Act of 2023. The ARTIST Act would update the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to help innovative economies and fortify enforcement of recent regulation and protections from counterfeit levels of competition for Native artists and their operates. 

The discussion draft demonstrates immediate stakeholder enter as well as decades of Committee oversight and broad commitment to the defense of Indigenous cultural patrimony and revitalization of Indigenous languages, according to a information launch.  

Responses will be applied to even more tell the legislative system and provide as a resource for upcoming conversations on updating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The deadline for remark submission on the dialogue draft is April 14, 2023. Reviews could be submitted to [email protected]

The marketing and sale of counterfeit Indian art and craftwork is an ongoing situation that tribes, condition and federal officers continue on to wrestle with in 2023.  

Previously this thirty day period, the Justice Office introduced that a Houston man was sentenced to five several years probation for mail fraud and misrepresentation of Indian Merchandise below the Indian Arts and Craft Act. 

In accordance to courtroom paperwork, Kevin Charles Kowalis, 60, fraudulently promoted and offered jewellery on the net that he explained as “Native American Indian Handmade,” “genuine Indian handcrafted,” “Zuni,” and “Navajo.”  He had acquired the counterfeit jewellery from a producer in the Philippines unaffiliated with any federally recognized Indigenous American tribe.

On March 1, in two separate prison scenarios, a pair of Washington artists pleaded guilty in Seattle to violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by representing themselves as Native American artists, when they have no tribal enrollment or heritage. The adult males, 52-year-outdated Lewis Anthony Rath, of Maple Falls, Washington, and 67-calendar year-previous Jerry Chris Van Dyke aka Jerry Witten, of Seattle, falsely represented by themselves as users of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Nez Perce Tribe, respectively. They will be sentenced on Might 17, 2023.

“For people providing counterfeit Indian art and craftwork it is significant to know that wherever you are we will diligently get the job done to uncover and prosecute you less than the Indian Arts and Crafts Act,” mentioned Director Meridith Stanton of the U.S. Division of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board. 

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