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Commodification, the Arts,


Indian Arts and Crafts Board IACB promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally recognized Tribes through the expansion of ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Commodification, the Arts,

Commodification, the Arts, Native American
  • Katherine Gehin
  • Lin Wu

Cultural Importance of Native American Art
  • Expression of unique cultural identity
  • Distinctions through various designs, textiles,
    techniques, and symbolisms.
  • Has both utilitarian and aesthetic functions
  • Served the needs of daily activities
  • Represents social and religious beliefs
  • Contributes to modern economic sustainment

Branches of Native Arts
  • Pottery
  • Jewelry
  • Paintings
  • Weavings
  • Basketry
  • Sculptures
  • Carvings

Functions of Native Arts Then and Now
  • Native American women are well-known for their
    weavings, baskets and pottery arts. Originally
    these items were simple tools of everyday life,
    but today are appreciated as the art and
    artifacts of an ancient culture by tourists and

Laws and Organizations
  • Various acts of legislations, associations, and
    political agendas aim to protect Native Americans
    and the authenticity of their cultural arts
    while promoting a successful economic environment
    without jeopardizing their identity.
  • Native American socio-cultural revival movement
    (New Deal Program)
  • The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), U.S.
    Department of Interior
  • Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990
  • California Indian Basketweavers Association
    (CIBA) founded in 1992

Native American Socio-cultural Revival Movements
  • Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal program was geared
    to help those people most affected by the Great
  • Indians benefited greatly from the 11 billion
    spent on such programs as
  • Works Progress Administration
  • National Recovery Act
  • Indian Reorganization Act.
  • This 1921 photograph, taken at Campobello, in New
    Brunswick, Canada, shows Roosevelt meeting with
    Governor Neptune, an Iroquois chief.

Works Progress Administration
  • The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was
    created by executive order in 1935, and in its
    eight years of existence it funded projects all
    across the country.
  • Not only was America's infrastructure (roads,
    bridges, land management, etc.) affected, but
    thousands of art-related projects were
  • Under the WPA, Indians were given unprecedented
    autonomy over their own programs.
  • Shown here is an Indian instructor teaching
    beadwork to Paiute girls at a school in Nevada,
    around 1940.

Indian Arts and Crafts Board
  • IACB promotes the economic development of
    American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally
    recognized Tribes through the expansion of the
    Indian arts and crafts market.
  • Provides promotional opportunities, general
    business advice, and information on the Indian
    Arts and Crafts Act to Native American artists,
    craftspeople, businesses, museums, and cultural
    centers of federally recognized tribes.
  • Oversees the execution of the Indian Arts and
    Crafts Act.

Created under the act by Congress, but
independent of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, was
the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. The board not
only encourage d traditional Indian crafts
production but also established markets, museums,
and shops to acquaint the public with the beauty
and quality of Indian crafts. (1937)
Commodification the Arts
  • Over the past few decades there has proven to be
    an increased interest in the romanticized idea of
    the Native American and their culture.
  • This has resulted in the commodification of
    Indian identity, culture and their arts.

Market Forces
  • With the commodification and growing interest in
    Native American Indians and their arts, this
    established a high market value for these items.
  • This economic factor has created great incentives
    for the creation of unauthentic, mass produced,
    and forged items produced by non-Indians.

Forgeries of Native Arts
  • In todays world, the increased selling and
    marketing of unauthentic Native arts poses a very
    serious problem for the many recognized Native
    American artisans who strongly rely on the
    selling of there handmade products as a means of
  • Pan-Indianism Powwows, tourist centers, internet
  • Forgeries also manifest a negative
    stereotype towards Native Americans and the
    integrity, purity, and antiquity
    of their culture and arts.

The Solution to the Problem?The Indian Arts
Crafts Act
  • In response to this ever growing issue, a piece
    of legislation was passed in 1990 known as, The
    Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which aimed to
    protect certified Indian artisans in the
    marketing, selling, and production of their
    handmade, authentic cultural arts.

Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990The Turning
Point for Native Artisans
  • States that 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.
  • Law covers all Indian and Indian-style
    traditional and contemporary arts and crafts
    produced after 1935.
  • Protects certified Indian artisans.

The Indian Arts Crafts Act and Native American
  • However, as with any complex issue, additional
    concerns and matters needed to be addressed.
  • In order for this act to be effective, a clear
    distinction needed to be established which stated
    who was, and was not an Indian.
  • It was now a question of Native American identity
    and who would be granted this protection and how
    would it be decided.

Who is an Indian? Protection According to the
Indian Arts Crafts Act
  • Indian
  • Defined as a member of a federally or officially
    State recognized tribe, or certified Indian
  • Certified Indian Artisan
  • Defined as an individual who is certified by the
    governing body of an Indian tribe as a non-member
    Indian artisan.

North American Indian Tribal Map
Violations Enforcement
  • Civil Criminal Penalties
  • For the first time violation of the act, an
    individual can face civil or criminal penalties
    up to a 250,000 fine or a five year prison term
    and up to 1,000,000 in fines if a business is
  • Consumer Complaints
  • Anyone can file a written complaint with the
    Indian Arts and Crafts Board to which further
    investigation and possible prosecution may occur.

EffectivenessIs this Act Making a Difference?
  • Law covers all Indian and Indian-style
    traditional and contemporary arts and crafts
    produced after 1935.
  • Although the Acts intentions are beneficial, it
    is very hard to regulate and enforce a matter of
    this magnitude. Additional amendments of the Act
    have been recently made to help compensate for
    the difficulty of its execution.
  • Also, not enough attention and/or funds are being
    pushed towards the resolution of this problem.
  • However, in response to this act, other groups
    have organized and are now aiding Native
    Americans with the restoration and protection of
    their cultural arts
  • California Indian Basket Weavers Association

California Indian Basketweavers Association
  • CIBA was founded in 1992, and now has around 800
  • Their mission is to preserve, promote, and
    perpetuate California Indian basket-weaving
    traditions while providing a healthy physical,
    social, spiritual, and economic environment for
  • Formed largely out of a need to protect plant
    species used by Californian Indian basket

  • Although legislative acts have been established
    to prevent the unauthorized marketing and selling
    of Indian arts and crafts products, this practice
    still occurs.
  • Only with increased funding and attention can
    pieces of legislation such as the Indian Arts and
    Crafts Act of 1990 be truly effective and
  • Fortunately, Native arts are thriving because of
    encouragement from tribal leaders, support from
    various art programs, and the enthusiasm and
    pride of Native American artists themselves.
    Although it is a slow process, the new
    generations are learning from their elders the
    values and traditions meaningful to
    their ancestors. The revival of Native
    American arts helps to ensure their survival.

  • http//
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  • The Commodification of Indian Identity, by George
    Castile, (article)
  • The Portal Case Authenticity, Tourism,
    Traditions, and the Law, by Deirdre
    Evans-Pritchard, (article)
  • The Legal Aspects of Indian Affairs from 1887 to
    1957 , by Theodore H. Haas, (article)
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