Department of the Interior

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CONTACT: Joan Moody
June 2, 2005
Consumers and Artists Can File Complaints Online about Falsely Labeled "Indian-Made" Products

Consumers can now file complaints about products falsely labeled as Indian-made on the U.S. Department of the Interior's Web Site. Complaints can be filed on the updated web page ( of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.

"To purchase authentic Indian arts and crafts, investigate the background of products," Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said recently. "A seller with authentic goods will gladly provide information and a written guarantee that the work is Indian- or Native American-made."

The IACB, an agency located in the Interior Department, is in charge of enforcement of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990. The 1990 Act is a truth-in-advertising law that provides criminal and civil penalties for marketing products as "Indian-made" when such products are not made by Indians.

Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or state- recognized Indian Tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian Tribe. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian Tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization, resident within the United States.

For a first time violation of the Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to a $250,000 fine or a 5-year prison term, or both. If a business violates the Act, it can face civil penalties or can be prosecuted and fined up to $1,000,000.
The IACB warns that consumer fraud not only harms the buyers, it also erodes the overall Indian arts and crafts market and the economic and cultural livelihood of Indian artists, craftspeople, and Tribes.
If you become aware of any market activity that you believe may be in violation of the Act, please contact the Indian Arts and Crafts Board either online at or at 1-888-ART-FAKE.



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