Arts & Entertainment | Law | National

Proposal seeks stronger protection for authentic Indian artists

An Indian artist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo from Tourism Santa Fe / Facebook

The mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico, is seeking to protect Indian artists from fakes and frauds.

Mayor Javier Gonzales wants to create a cultural district where all items marketed as Indian must be properly documented with the artist's name, tribal affiliation and source and type of materials used. He said he was taking action following the indictments of three people for violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by selling fake goods in the state.

"Counterfeit art hurts artists' ability to survive as artists, and it puts Santa Fe's cultural integrity at risk. We’ve seen already this year that counterfeit art is not a myth," Gonzales said on Facebook. "It is real, it is in Santa Fe, and it is impacting artists across the region."

Indian artists told The Santa Fe New Mexican that they support the proposal. They said fraudulent goods hurt their ability to make a living.

“They should be honest,” jeweler Cynthia Coriz of Kewa Pueblo told the paper.

Retired Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, also supports the plan, The Albuquerque Journal reported. He is an artist whose works are displayed in Santa Fe and he passed laws to strengthen the Indian Arts and Crafts Act while he was in Congress.

Get the Story:
Santa Fe mayor proposes cultural district to fight counterfeit Native American art (AP 12/17)
Mayor Gonzales proposes cultural district to combat counterfeit art sales (The Santa Fe New Mexican 12/16)
Santa Fe mayor wants Native items for sale ID’d by artist, tribe and material (The Albuquerque Journal 12/16)
Santa Fe looks to pass legislation to protect authentic Native American art (KRQE 12/15)

Related Stories:
New Mexico trio charged for violating Indian Arts and Crafts Act (10/29)
Self-described 'Cherokee' artist admits to misrepresentation (09/14)
Self-described Cherokee artist charged for misrepresentation (06/29)

Join the Conversation