WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The National Park Service recently published a regulation that encourages concessioners within national parks to sell genuine American Indian and Alaska Native handcrafts; to make sure that the handcrafts are appropriately labeled, or otherwise identified, as authentic; and to strive to reflect the cultural, historical and geographical characteristics of the park area.
“Thanks to this new park regulation, visitors to national parks now
can shop with more confidence that the Native American handcraft products
offered for sale are authentic,” Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne
Through these expanded efforts consumers will be able to more readily distinguish art or craft items made by Native Americans from non-Indian made replicas and imports. “By adhering to these good business and truth-in-advertising practices, the concessioners are eligible for specific contract franchise fee exemptions,” noted Jo Pendry, NPS Concessions manager.
The new product identification can be provided through an attached label or separate tag, paper, sign, sticker or signed document from the artist or craftsperson. Park visitors will benefit by the inclusion of information attesting to the authenticity of the item, and by learning about regional tribes, art forms and customs. Tribal artisans will profit as well, enjoying both economic development opportunities and acknowledgement for their unique art and craftwork.
“The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), part of the Department of the Interior, appreciates that the National Park Service consulted with us when preparing this language to support the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (Act) and the IACB’s mission,” said Meridith Stanton, IACB Director. Implemented by the IACB, the Act is essentially a truth-in-advertising law which prohibits the sale of arts or crafts as Indian made, unless the maker is enrolled in a federally or officially state-recognized tribe, or is a certified as a non-member Indian artisan. Criminal and civil penalties exist for violations of the Act.
For more information on the Act, please contact the IACB using its toll free telephone number, 888.278.3253, or visit the IACB website at www.iacb.doi.gov.