First American Art Magazine No. 22, Spring 2019 - Page 17

Buying or Selling Indian Art? Know the Law! Under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, all American Indian and Alaska Native art and craft products must be marketed truthfully regarding the tribal enrollment and Indian heritage of the artist or craftsperson. Take Home a Treasure from Indian Country-Buy works produced by members of federally recognized tribes. For a free brochure on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, including how to file a complaint, contact: U.S. Department of the Interior Indian Arts and Crafts Board 1849 C Street, NW, MS 2528-MIB Washington DC 20240 Toll Free: 1-888-ART-FAKE or 1-888-278- 3253 Email: Web: Joan Hill, Muscogee Creek Nation, Sacred Ceremony of the Temple Mound, Painting, ©1989 EXTRATERRESTRIAL TRANSPORT Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques blasted off aboard a Russian rocket to the International Space Station on December 3, 2018, carrying a piece of Inuit art. Saint-Jacques selected a seal- skin bracelet made by Inuk designer Victoria Okpik, originally from Nunavik, after contacting the artist. Okpik told the CBC that the astronaut “asked me to make him something that would be meaningful for Canadians.” Saint-Jacques had worked as a doctor at the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in the Inuit community of Puvirnituq, Quebec, prior to becoming an astronaut. REPATRIATION The US Department of Justice returned an Acoma Shield and other cultural items to the Pueblo of Acoma in a ceremony at the Sky City Cultural Center and Haak’u Museum in New Mexico. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recovered the shield after discov- ering a Montana art gallery was offering it for sale. The discovery came after the 2015 attempted sale of an Acoma Shield by the Eve Auction house in Paris, France. Acoma Pueblo war shields are sacred pieces of cultural patrimony and used for religious purposes, and closely kept among community leaders of the Pueblo community. CRIME & LEGAL ISSUES The US federal court indicted five men for fraudulently selling non-Native jewelry as being Native American. The goods were manufactured and smuggled in from the Philippines and sold without any markings of origin. The accused individuals allegedly copied designs by Native American artists and had the artists’ hallmarks forged onto the merchandise. The men all face prison time if convicted of the charges of conspiracy, smuggling, and misrepresentation of American Indian-produced goods. This is considered the largest Indian Arts and Crafts Act fraud case, with the value of the goods estimated at almost $12 million. Denver Art Museum suffered ten damaged artworks when an 18-year old visitor, Jake Siebenlist, went on a deliberate rampage in December. The damaged works were part of Stampede: Animals in Art. It is unclear what motivated the teen and he has been charged with felony criminal mischief in connection with the attack. He is due in court on March 15, 2019, to enter a plea. Fortunately, nearly all of the objects can be repaired. The damaged objects were Pre-Columbian art of the Americas, modern and contemporary art, and one work of Asian art. Thieves stole two First Nations carvings from an accounting firm in Campbell River, British Columbia. One of the carvings was Bear Dancer by Quadra Island-based artist Michael Price (Kwakwaka’wakw). The other carving was described as a foot- high small eagle mask. The owners declined to speculate on the market value of the art, and the authorities say the investigation is ongoing. SPRING 2019 | 15