Editorial: Recognize Abenaki arts and crafts

"Proposed changes to the 2006 Abenaki recognition law would finally create a mechanism that would allow local Abenaki artisans to market their work as American Indian products. The changes are necessary to comply with a federal law that seeks to keep counterfeit Indian arts and crafts off the market.

The changes would establish procedures and criteria for recognizing individual Abenaki nations, tribes or bands. The recognition would only be to "permit the creation, display, and sale of Native American arts and crafts and legally to label them as Indian- or Native American-produced..." The state must reject any recognition that could lead to land claims or allow tribes to operate gambling businesses.

A 1990 federal law defines an Indian as a member of an Indian tribe with official state or federal recognition, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by a recognized tribe. An earlier proposal by the state Attorney General's Office to create a way to recognize individual artisans fails to fulfill federal requirements. The draft proposal would allow the Abenaki recognition law to work as lawmakers intended.

Vermont's Abenaki failed in their bid to win federal recognition earlier this year, and has only limited recognition from the state. But the 1,700 Abenaki in the state deserve the chance to claim some of the economic benefits of their heritage. Proposed changes to the Abenaki recognition law remove one more obstacle to that claim."

Get the Story:
Editorial: Allow recognition of Abenaki products (The Burlington Free Press 10/4)

Relevant Links:
Indian Arts and Crafts Board - http://www.doi.gov/iacb

Related Stories:
Bill seeks to strengthen Alaska Native arts law (03/09)
Federal Trade Commission: Authentic Indian art (06/07)
Opinion: Congress mucked up Indian Arts and Crafts (6/2)
Artist forced to choose sides: Navajo or Hopi? (5/31)
Fighting fake Indian arts called an uphill battle (5/23)
Fake Indian art often made in foreign countries (5/22)
Enforcement inadequate for fake Indian arts and crafts (04/13)
Budget includes money for DOI Indian museums (02/09)
Rehberg leads fight to save Indian museum funds (01/23)
Opinion: Saving Indian art by killing the museum (1/18)
Tribes want DOI to continue funding Sioux museum (1/10)
DOI museums set to close but tribes may benefit (1/6)
Jana McKeag: DOI to transfer three Indian museums (12/16)
Firm awarded contract to track fake Native arts (10/17)
Indian artists dealt setback by federal appeals court (03/03)
FTC investigates fake Alaska Native art (11/04)
Alaska Native art campaign a success (10/09)
Fake arts suits owe survival to strengthened law (3/28)
New arts act clears Congress (10/25)
Tribe works to protect art (10/10)
Fake arts still an issue (08/17)
Fighting forgeries in Indian Country (05/18)