Friday, June 28, 2013

Reproduced from Facebook, in the interest of supporting the integrity of genuine Native American art.

Faux Native

On prosecuting Indian arts and crafts counterfeiters

Last week a California man pleaded guilty to a federal misdemeanor charge of selling fake Native American jewelry at a Santa Fe art show.
A federal judge sentenced 60-year-old Andrew Gene Alvarez aka “Redhorse” to 30 months probation for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by falsely stating that jewelry he made and sold was the creation of a Native American. Part of Alvarez's sentence prohibits him from claiming that any jewelry he makes is a Native American product.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act forbids the offer or display for sale and the sale of any good in a manner falsely suggesting that it is Indian-produced, an Indian product or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe. It's a “truth-in-advertising law designed to prevent products from being marketed as ‘Indian-made,’ when the products are, in fact, not made by Indians as defined in the Act.”
According to court records, the FBI launched an investigation into Alvarez after receiving a tip from the Interior Department’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB). The IACB asserted that Alvarez, who is not an enrolled member of any recognized Native American tribe, claimed he was either Mescalero Apache or Colville and Mayo Indian as he sold goods in Santa Fe and across the U.S.
The feds busted Alvarez after he sold fake Indian jewelry to undercover agents at the Native Treasures show in Santa Fe; that show's program listed him as a Colville/Apache jewelry maker. In addition to passing his jewelry off as Native American-made, authorities said Alvarez even concocted an oral bio detailing a fake Native American heritage.
“It’s crazy, but it happens all the time. And it’s a shame because it is a national treasure that we have Native American communities who can create such beautiful artwork that you don’t find anywhere else,” said Wayne Bobrick of Wright’s Indian Art.
Bobrick said in the many years he's bought and sold Indian art and jewelry, he's seen many cases where non-Natives have undermined the market by claiming Native American heritage and producing counterfeit work. Under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, Indian art is defined as any product produced by one of the 1.9 million members of the 565 federally- or state-recognized Indian tribes or individuals certified as Indian artisans by an Indian tribe.
Native American artist and activist Tony Eriacho said Alvarez is just part of the problem and that these types of cases persist because of lax laws and very little meaningful prosecution. “Nobody has gone to jail or put any teeth into the law,” he said. According to a 2011 Government Accountability Report, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board received almost 650 complaints alleging misrepresentation of Indian-produced goods between 2006 and 2010. The same report revealed that the IACB determined 150 of these complaints involved apparent law violations, and it determined 117 needed more investigation, but no cases were filed in federal court as a result.
In actuality only five people have been prosecuted for violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act between 1990 and 2010. Of those five cases, two were dismissed and the other three resulted in sentences ranging from probation to 13 months jail time.
Eriacho said arbitrary custom laws make it easy for merchants to pass off imported articles of “Native American-style” jewelry as authentic Indian art and jewelry. At one time imported art and jewelry incorporating traditional Native American design motifs had to be permanently marked with its country of origin. But, in order to accommodate the demands of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), U.S. Customs penciled in an exception to the permanent marking rule. That exception allows imported Native American-style jewelry and art to enter the country with a removable sticker if it's determined that it is “technically commercially infeasible” to place a permanent marking on the product.
Eriacho insists that some Native Americans don’t make the situation better by buying imported goods, removing the stickers and passing them off as authentic. He adds that since there is no clear definition of what's categorized as Indian art, quality issues arise. “This makes it difficult to explain to customers the importance of buying something made entirely from scratch, instead of going to a hobby or bead shop and buying all these beads and materials and stringing it up,” said Eriacho.
Both Eriacho and Bobrick agree that dealers and consumers need to be educated about what they're buying. But Bobrick said one thing he's learned in 42 years in the industry is that it isn’t always easy to tell the difference between real and fake goods. “There are some things that are obvious, but if they do it well enough, anyone can be fooled,” said Bobrick; he has even heard of instances where an artist has visited a shop and seen counterfeit versions of their own work—complete with signature—for sale.
The report states that very few of these cases are prosecuted because many federal and state agencies rely on education rather than law enforcement to curtail misrepresentation of Indian arts and crafts. One IACB method of investigating cases was sending a warning letter to alleged offenders. The letters are generalized to businesses that sell Indian arts and crafts, detailing the requirements for the sale of Indian arts and crafts and defining possible penalties. But the GAO report concludes these efforts are thwarted by public ignorance of the law, law enforcement priorities and the cost of legal action.
According to the GAO report, outdated and limited data makes it difficult to determine the size of the Indian arts and crafts market and to what extent misrepresentation occurs. It states that a comprehensive study to estimate the size of the market would be “complex and costly and may not provide reliable results.”

What's happening in July in Tribal Arts

July 6-7 -80th Annual Hopi Festival of Arts and Culture at Museum of Northern Arizona

July 9-10 - Brimfield, MA Brimfield AntiqueMarket

July 12-14 - Taos, NM 28th Annual Powow at Taos Pueblo

July 25-26 - Taos Pueblo Feast Days of Santiago and Santa Ana

July 27-28 - Eagle Nest NM High Country Arts and Crafts Festival

Monday, June 24, 2013

Want to know how to cast glass? Check this out

Lost Wax Kilncast Glass / July 17-21, 2013
In this class you will learn how to make fully sculptural cast glass objects using the lost wax process. Steps in the process include creating a refractory mold around a wax model, steaming out the wax, calculating the amount of glass needed to fill the mold, curing the mold, and firing the work in the kiln. You will complete this process twice: first with a wax model we provide and then with a wax model you will build in class. Finishing methods will also be covered, including how to safely remove mold material from fired glass and how to alter fired surfaces using coldworking techniques. There are no prerequisites, though a background in ceramics or 3D modeling is helpful.


July 17-21, 2013

Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm

Max. Attendees: 
Where: Bullseye Glass Co., 805 Early Street Building E, Santa Fe, NM 87505
Resource Center Santa Fe is a one-stop destination for the full line of Bullseye sheet glass, stringer, frit, and powder – plus all the tools you need to work with them. We also offer classes for all levels in a supportive, inspirational environment.
Lifted from Santa Fe Creative Tourism Journey with gratitude. To view some outstanding blown-glass sculpture by Taos Pueblo's Ira Lujan, visit PS It's all on sale now at 30% off.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

What's about to happen in Tribal Art?

June 7-9 - Red Earth Festival, Oklahoma City (Update: Recent OKC tornados may cause cancellation) 405-427-5228 

June 21-23 - Brian Lebel's Old West Sale & Auction, Denver CO Merchandise Mart

June 22 - Museum of Northern Arizona Navajo Rug Auction, Flagstaff,
AZ 928-774-5213

June 23-24 - Taos, NM San Juan Feast Day at Taos Pueblo

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

New Aboriginal art exhibit in Australia

We are always happy to announce and 

promote Aboriginal art exhibits in Australia, 

even though we have no connection with 

the exhibitor. Maureen Hudson is a fine 

painter. If you are in the area, this should 

be a good show. If you are not in Australia 

but are interested in Australian aboriginal 

art available in the USA, visit our web site 

at tribalworks

current exhibition maureen hudson nampijinpa

Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa Earth + Fire + Water exhibition 
opens June 14 at 6.30pm and runs daily at ELEMENTS Gallery,
131A Waratah Avenue, Dalkeith until Sunday 30th June 
11-5 daily.  All enquiries welcome.
Aboriginal Art Exhibition Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa Aboriginal Art Exhibition Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa Aboriginal Art Exhibition Maureen Hudson Nampijinpa

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Zuni and the art of Zuni fetish carving

A few miles south of Gallup, New Mexico and near the Arizona state line lies a Native American pueblo with a colorful history of survival. From Conquistador assaults, Christian proselytizing, seasonal extremes in temperature and moisture, Anglo expansion and commercial exploitation, the Zuni people have persisted.

No one knows for sure, but some speculate that the Zuni Pueblo's persistence is partially a result of the a'shiwi  dedication to a culture that is highly creative. Among the artistic traditions of the people is that of "fetish" carving. It began in Zuni prehistory, from a Zuni belief that when the Zuni people emerged onto the surface of the earth, the Sun Father ordered his twin sons to protect them from wild and aggressive animals, for which the people were not well prepared cope with. The twin sons hurled down bolts of lightening to strike the the animals and freeze their spirits in stone. The stone animals were commanded to use their powers and cunning to serve the Zuni people.

Zuni bear fetish carvingWith this story as part of their culture, a Zuni would find a stone object that resembled a bear or a mountain lion, or some other predator, he assumed the stone contained the protective spirit that the belief described. Those stones would be gathered up to provide protection for the bearer. Eventually, they would be slightly reshaped to appear even closer to the creature. The stones would be kept for protection and to assist the hunter in his hunt.

The acquisition of a new "fetish" was accompanied by a prayer for help in the hunt and thanks for the result that would go to feed their families. In theory, a Zuni carving doesn't not become a "fetish" until is blessed by a tribal priest. But Zuni carvings have become so skilled and the results so attractive that people began to collect the carvings. The use of the term "fetish" stuck among the collectors.

As the tradition evolved, the creatures became more intricate and finished in their appearance. The six-direction coterie of bear, mountain lion, badger, wolf, eagle and mole, protectors of the west, the north, the south, the east, the sky and the netherworld respectively, were expanded to any number of creatures the carver could imagine and reproduce. Similarly, while the original materials were the found stones, the repertory has expanded to include turquoise, coral, shell, jet, and Zuni rock, a travertine found at Zuni, and materials as exotic as lapis lazuli, amber, opal, pipestone, tagua nut, labradorite and more.

The combination of more versatile materials, more different creatures and more detail have spurred growing popularity among people who love to collect. When you catch the bug, you will find ample opportunities to find what you are looking for. Many carvers sell from their home studios in Zuni.  Some of the more noteworthy carvers are Lena Boone and her family, Evalena boone, Leland Boone and  Robert MIchael Weahkee. Lena's sister is Dinah Gasper, both are descended from Edna Leki. Other very collectible carvers include Dee  Edaakie, Burt Awelagte, The Quandelacys - Sandra, Stewart, Stuart, Avery, Kateri, Vicki, Andres, Georgia, Talia and Faye. Todd Westika, Fitz Kiyite, Gibbs Othole and Lynn and Jane Quam are more. The list goes on (apologies to any that my faulty memory has left out.)

If you can't make the trip to Zuni, however, there are dozens of dealers in local galleries throughout New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and other Western states, plus in major cities across the country. Even more convenient, there are numerous sellers online, some on eBay and other on their own websites. Just search for "Zuni fetish carvings".

As with anything popular, the carving tradition has expanded to include Native Americans from other tribes and pueblos. Salvador Romero is an accomplished carver from Cochiti, as is his brother, Wilson Romero. Navajo carvers include Sammy Smith and Ben Livingston. 

Otter carving by Melvin SandovalMelvin Sandoval, a San Felipe member, who is married to a Zuni woman, has developed a very distinctive, abstract style that has attracted a strong following among collectors. 

Delbert Charging Crow roadrunner carvingOne of our favorites is Delbert Charging Crow, a Lakota Sioux, whose carving is very spiritual.

As you venture into the field, be sure to select Zuni fetish dealers with good records, positive reviews, a history of successful customer satisfaction and the willingness to stand behind their provenance for each piece.  In addition, if you are buying based on online photographs, be sure your seller will accept a return if you are unhappy with your purchase when you see and hold it.

Welcome to the world of Zuni fetishes and fetish carving.  Make yourself comfortable. Elahkwa