Letter: Indian blood doesn't mean Indian artist
"In “Cowan’s ‘Indian wars,’” Murv Jacob is angry because his books and artwork were removed from the Cherokee Nation Heritage Center and the gift shop. His anger is misdirected.

At the heart of Murv’s problem is the Federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and subsequent passage of the Cherokee Nation’s Truth in Advertising for Native Art Act of 2008.

Both pieces of legislation define a native artist as a citizen or member of a federally recognized tribe. Although Murv says he has “a good bit of Kentucky Cherokee blood,” it must be documented to meet the legislative guidelines of a “native artist.”

Lots of people say they have American Indian blood. Not all can prove it. The fact that Murv cannot meet the citizenship requirement is not Cara Cowan Watts’ fault.

Murv stated in his letter that he had never said he was a member of any tribe. He is wise in doing so because, according to the above federal law, to identify himself as an “Indian artist” without documentation could put him at risk of facing a federal fine of $250,000.

Likewise, any business who markets his work as by an “Indian artist” could be fined $1 million."

Get the Story:
Sara Hoklotubbe: 'Native artist' defined (The Tahlequah Daily Press 9/8)

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Forum addresses Cherokee Nation identity issues (9/2)