Genuine American Indian Arts and Crafts
you're drawn to the beauty of turquoise and silver jewelry or the earth tones of Indian
pottery, some information about American Indian arts and crafts can help you get what you
pay for. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous retailers are selling imitation American Indian
arts and crafts to unwary consumers.
According to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, any item produced after 1935 that
is marketed as "Indian," "Native American" or "Alaska
Native" must have been made by a member of a state or federally-recognized tribe or a
certified Indian artisan. That is a non-member Indian artisan who is certified by the
governing body of an Indian tribe.
You can buy American Indian arts and crafts in tourist stores, gift shops and art
galleries, among other outlets. To help you shop with confidence, the Federal Trade
Commission and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board of the U.S. Department of the Interior
offer these tips:
- Buy from an established dealer who gives a written guarantee or written verification of
|Ask if your item comes with a certification tag. Not all authentic Indian arts and
crafts carry this tag, but those that do are certified by the Department of the Interior
(DOI) to be genuine. This sample tag identifies the artisan as a member of the Oklahoma
Indian Arts and Crafts Cooperative. However, you may see a different name and logo
appearing in the circle on the item you buy.
(Click on graphic for larger image)
- Get a receipt that includes information about the value of your purchase and any verbal
representations by the salesperson. For example, if the salesperson tells you that the
piece of jewelry you're buying is sterling silver and natural turquoise and was handmade
by an American Indian artisan, make sure this information is documented on your receipt.
- Before buying American Indian arts and crafts at powwows, annual fairs, juried
competitions, and other events, check the event requirements for information about the
authenticity of the products for sale. Many events list their requirements in newspaper
ads, promotional flyers and printed programs. If the event organizers don't say anything
about the authenticity of the American Indian arts and crafts for sale, get written
verification for any item you buy that is sold as authentic.
For more information, call the FTC toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP, and ask for the
publication, How to Buy Genuine American Indian Arts and Crafts.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER