Senate Committee Seeks Comments 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 laws that would fortify enforcement of regulations against pretend Indigenous art. 

In a statement, Schatz mentioned the Indian Affairs committee is seeking community remark on the proposed Amendments to Regard Regular Indigenous Skill and Expertise (ARTIST) Act of 2023. The ARTIST Act would update the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to support resourceful economies and improve enforcement of present-day regulation and protections towards counterfeit competition for Indigenous artists and their functions. 

The discussion draft reflects direct stakeholder input as properly as yrs of Committee oversight and wide motivation to the defense of Native cultural patrimony and revitalization of Indigenous languages, in accordance to a news release.  

Feedback will be utilized to even more tell the legislative procedure and serve as a resource for long run conversations on updating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The deadline for comment submission on the dialogue draft is April 14, 2023. Opinions may be submitted to [email protected]

The promoting and sale of counterfeit Indian artwork and craftwork is an ongoing difficulty that tribes, condition and federal officers proceed to wrestle with in 2023.  

Earlier this month, the Justice Division introduced that a Houston man was sentenced to five years probation for mail fraud and misrepresentation of Indian Products underneath the Indian Arts and Craft Act. 

In accordance to court docket paperwork, Kevin Charles Kowalis, 60, fraudulently marketed and offered jewellery on the web that he explained as “Native American Indian Handmade,” “genuine Indian handcrafted,” “Zuni,” and “Navajo.”  He experienced acquired the counterfeit jewellery from a maker in the Philippines unaffiliated with any federally regarded Native American tribe.

On March 1, in two individual criminal situations, a pair of Washington artists pleaded responsible in Seattle to violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by symbolizing by themselves as Native American artists, when they have no tribal enrollment or heritage. The men, 52-year-aged Lewis Anthony Rath, of Maple Falls, Washington, and 67-year-previous Jerry Chris Van Dyke aka Jerry Witten, of Seattle, falsely represented by themselves as customers of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and the Nez Perce Tribe, respectively. They will be sentenced on May 17, 2023.

“For all those promoting counterfeit Indian artwork and craftwork it is vital to know that where ever you are we will diligently do the job to uncover and prosecute you less than the Indian Arts and Crafts Act,” stated Director Meridith Stanton of the U.S. Division of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board. 

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