Self-described 'Cherokee' artist admits to misrepresentation

Terry Lee Whetstone. Photo from Buffalo River Art Gallery / Facebook

A self-described "Cherokee" artist pleaded guilty to violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

Terry Lee Whetstone, 63, of Missouri marketed his goods as "Indian" and as "Cherokee" on his now-disabled website. He also promoted himself as an "Indian" flute player.

However, Whetstone is not a member of any of the federally Cherokee tribes. As a result, he agreed to stop misrepresenting himself as part of a plea deal with federal prosecutors.

"Whetstone may not sell art during his term of probation unless he notifies buyers that he is not a member of an Indian tribe," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "Whetstone must take down his Web site and refrain from advertising or promoting his artwork in any fashion during the term of probation. Whetstone is prohibited from performing flute music publically during the term of probation unless he notifies the audience that he is not a member of an Indian tribe."

Whetstone, who will remain on probation for three years, is a member of a group calling itself the Northern Cherokee Nation of Missouri. The group lacks federal recognition and is not recognized by the state of Missouri.

Get the Story:
Missouri artist pleads guilty to falsely claiming to be a Cherokee to sell his artwork (The Kansas City Star 9/10)
Probation for Odessa artist includes disclaimer when playing flute (The Kansas City Business Journal 9/10)

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