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INSIDE THIS ISSUE:

President’s Message

2

Welcome New IACA

Members

2

IACA 2017 Board of

Directors

2

Lines Blur Between Real

and Fake Turquoise

3

Meet your new IACA Board

Members

4

I n d i a n A r t s a n d C r a f t s A s s o c i a t i o n

J O U R N A L

THE WORLD’S LEADING AMERICAN INDIAN ARTS ALLIANCE

Volume 6, Issue 1

Winter 2017

W

HAT

IS

I

NDIAN

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by Dawn Dark Mountain, (Oneida) Artist Member

The mission statement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Association is “

To promote, preserve and protect au-

thentic American Indian arts and crafts

.” Recent legislation in the state of Oklahoma decrees that only

federally recognized tribal members are able to label and sell their art as American Indian. State-only

recognized tribal members may not represent their work as American Indian art in Oklahoma. As

individual states begin to dictate which tribal nations they will recognize, the question arises, who is an

American Indian and what is American Indian Art?

Many American Indian nations are struggling with the same question, and it will clearly be a defining

issue for our time. As time passes and blood quantum levels decline as a result of intermarriage, it has

become necessary for many tribal governments to decide how to keep their nations viable as blood

becomes thinned. The blood quantum (typically one-quarter) was an artificial measure imposed on

tribes by the U.S. government to determine who was Indian and would be affected by various laws and

treaties imposed on or granted to American Indians. Now, individual tribal nations must decide what

the criteria are for enrollment.

Many tribes have a historic tradition of adoption that in the present day would not be an acceptable

standard of tribal enrollment. Other tribes will include members if they can prove their descent, no

matter how small their percentage of Native blood.

IACA currently follows and supports the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644), a truth-

in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in the marketing of Indian arts and crafts prod-

ucts within the United States. Under the Act, an Indian is defined as “a member of any federally or

officially State recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian

Tribe.”

Contrary to the Oklahoma legislation, IACA continues to sanction artists of state-only recognized

tribes, as per the Indian Arts and Crafts act of 1990 and the IACA membership criteria. By the Ok-

lahoma standards, some of our long-time members would no longer be eligible. Yet other members

have strong objections to having state-recognized tribes included in our organization.

As IACA struggles with its own identity and purpose, some concerns of our organization include:

A strong desire to follow the Indian Arts and Crafts Act,

An apprehension that our organization might be used to give validity to individuals or

organizations that would be less credible without the IACA endorsement,

The opinions and feelings of our membership regarding eligibility

And beyond the issue of who is Indian, comes a related concern as to what constitutes

Indian Art.

We would love to hear your feedback on these issues.

Just write to

whatdoyouthink@iaca.com

.