Greetings! I am Ruthe Blalock Jones and I am an Indian Arts and Crafts Board commissioner. As a Shawnee-Delaware-Peoria artist and educator, I strive to honor and preserve Indian culture and the history and traditions of our families and tribes.
My work depicting Indians and customary dress and activities is on the shoulders of those early artists who created flat paintings that grew out of the ledger style popularized by the Kiowa 5. It is important to me to pay respect to those who came before us, and to help launch new generations of Indian artists and artisans and to say that we are still here.
For over 30 years I served as the Director of the Art Department at Bacone College in Muscogee, Oklahoma, which was the oldest continuing Indian art education program in the country. At Bacone I encouraged students to build upon their talents and self-expression to excel and carry on the rich cultural heritage and traditions of their tribes.
The beauty, quality, and collectability of authentic Indian art and craftwork makes each piece a unique reflection of our heritage. From traditional German silver jewelry to cutting edge contemporary fashion, it is important that buyers not only appreciate authentic Indian art but also be aware that it competes daily with fraudulent Indian artwork in the worldwide marketplace.
Counterfeit art is disrespectful. The growing sale of the fraudulent Indian product is adversely impacting our Indian economies, and our cultural and artistic heritage.
To combat fraudulent Indian art, the Board educates the buying public about the importance and value of authentic Indian art through a variety of avenues, including changing exhibitions of upcoming artists in our three museums and additionally it provides consumer education brochures and market and media contacts as well as intellectual property rights protection and marketing workshops for Indian artists, artisans and businesses.
Niyaawe! Thank you.