Pâhávevóonä'o! Hello! My name is Harvey Pratt. I am a Cheyenne-Arapaho master artist, as well as a forensic artist for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. I am also the Chairman of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. For more than four decades as a self-taught Indian artist, I have been very concerned about the artistic heritage of Native Americans, because it is both a precious national asset and a significant economic resource.
Craftsmanship, authenticity, quality, and value. We all seek these traits when buying Native American art and craftsmanship for ourselves and for others. But when unfair competition arises from fraudulent and counterfeit products the sustainability, vitality, and economic well-being of Indian tribes and their members and businesses are seriously eroded.
This is why the Indian Arts and Craft Act is very important. The Act is essentially a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation, marketing of Indian art and craft. The Act makes it illegal to offer any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is American Indian or Alaska Native unless it was created by a member of a Federally or a State recognized tribe or by a certified Indian artisan. The art Act is intended to protect Native American artisans who rely heavily on the production and sale of their artistic products in order to provide for economic livelihood, preserve their rich heritage, and pass along their unique culture from generation to generation.
Providing a level playing field is extremely important, especially since some people see Indian arts and craftwork as simple retail commodities to be exploited for profit. But for the highly talented, dedicated, and hard-working producers of genuine Native American art, traditional art and craftwork is at the very heart of our ancestral and contemporary society and culture.
Whether you are drawn to the beauty of American Indian painting, Alaska Native art carvings, Pueblo pottery, or Navajo silverwork, having some knowledge of Native American art and craftwork can help you shop wisely.
Take home a treasure from Indian Country by buying authentic American Indian art. Thank you.