WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of the Interior’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management and Budget and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs announced that they will hold nation-to-nation consultations with tribes and listening sessions with Indian artists and craftspeople on draft amendments to regulations that implement the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. This is a truth-in-advertising law that makes it illegal to sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is “Indian-made.”
“Arts and crafts are important to Native communities, both culturally and economically,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Updating these regulations to include modern forms of art and craft work will support Indigenous artisans and craftspeople. The changes we are exploring are intended to further protect the authenticity of Indian-made products and help ensure that Native people can receive fair compensation for their work. This aligns with our ongoing work to promote economic opportunity and revitalize tribal languages, cultures, and lands to address the harms that past policies have inflicted on Indigenous peoples.”
The proposed changes will modernize the Indian Arts and Crafts Act’s regulations and include bringing a co-equal focus to promotional activities, expanding the definition of Indian product, allowing for non-Indian labor to work on Indian products in limited situations, and using a new certification trademark to certify that an item is an Indian product.
Also announced was the appointment of two new commissioners to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Jordan Ann Craig and Jamie Okuma. The board, appointed by the Secretary of the Interior, is responsible for implementing the Indian Arts and Crafts Act regulations. The board promotes the economic development of federally recognized American Indians and Alaska Natives through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market.
Indian Affairs will gather input on the draft regulations from tribal leaders, Native artists, and other stakeholders through a series of tribal consultations and listening sessions between April and August 2023. Listening sessions will be held at major events where Native artists gather, such as pow-wows and festivals, in order to maximize opportunities for input to be provided by those who are most affected. Comments will also be accepted in writing until Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. For details on dates and locations of consultation and listening sessions and how to submit comments, visit https://www.bia.gov/service/tribal-consultations/indian-arts-and-crafts-board-25-cfr-chapter-ii.