Incidentally, the same artist, who is based in California, challenged another Indian arts law in Missouri with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation, whose website boasts of a high win rate at the U.S. Supreme Court, where tribes are almost always dealt losses to their rights. The group more recently submitted a brief in Haaland v. Brackeen, the closely-watched case that could lead to ICWA being invalidated for good, depriving federally recognized tribes of the ability to protect their children. When it comes to protecting artists, Congress could resolve the “conflict” that arose in the Oklahoma case by restricting the IACA to citizens of federally recognized tribes. Some state recognized groups are pushing back on the proposal — along with the notion that they are “fake” — as the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs weighs an update to the law. “We are no less Native than any of the Federal Tribes in the United States,” five groups claiming to be “Cherokee” and “Creek” from Alabama wrote in an April 17 letter to the committee. “Our crafts and art are a very important part of who we are. It is ridiculous to assume that there are no other (genuine) American Indians other than the Federal Recognized Tribes. We are not stealing culture this is our Culture.” “We ARE GENUINE Indian Artist,” the letter continues. Chief Hoskin labeled the groups as an “alliance of phony tribes” in a post on social media.
The Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes approved several resolutions, including a resolution supporting the rights of students to wear tribal regalia during graduation ceremonies & a resolution calling on Congress to protect federally recognized Native artists.(2/4) pic.twitter.com/ECC0A75dYE— Cherokee Nation (@CherokeeNation) April 14, 2023
Another group called the 7 Directions of Service is also lobbying against the proposal to limit the IACA to federally recognized tribal artists. The non-profit, which is based in North Carolina, is circulating a letter which it says will be submitted to the Senate committee and to the Department of the Interior, the federal agency that includes the Indian Arts and Crafts Board. “If they remove state tribes from the Congressional Act language, it will be devastating for state-recognized tribal citizens all over the United States,” the online form states. 7 Directions of Service was founded by Crystal Cavalier-Keck and her husband, Jason “Crazy Bear” Keck. Crystal Cavalier-Keck, who previously ran for Congress as a Democrat and has been active in Democratic politics, is part of the Occaneechi Band of the Saponi Nation, a group that secured state recognition against the recommendations of the North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs. 7 Directions of Service did not respond to an inquiry placed via email and through an online form about Jason Keck’s supposed tribal affiliations. In the past, he has claimed to be “Choctaw” and “Apache” from Louisiana but has not been specific about the nature of his belonging to any tribal nations. He also has gone by the name Jason Campos-Keck, with the Keck name coming from his late father James G. Keck.
An alliance of phony tribes is feeling the pressure of our effort to strip #faketribes of federal protection. They win if federally recognized tribes stay silent. The #FiveTribes in Okla spoke out. Join us with a letter to @IndianCommittee https://t.co/2geWOSZ1aP #NativeArt pic.twitter.com/LTeRQaAbkP— Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. (@ChuckHoskin_Jr) April 17, 2023
Amid the jostling, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs on Friday extended the deadline for comments about potential updates to the IACA. The deadline is now May 19 for what is being called the Amendments to Respect Traditional Indigenous Skill and Talent (ARTIST) Act of 2023. “The ARTIST Act would update the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to support creative economies and strengthen enforcement of current law and protections against counterfeit competition for Native artists and their works,” the Democratic-led committee said in a news release. “Comments will be used to further inform the legislative process and serve as a resource for future discussions on updating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), the chair of the committee, announced the ARTIST Act as a discussion draft bill on March 14. One of the notable changes [PDF] is the inclusion of Native Hawaiian artists in IACA. As enacted in 1990, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act makes it a crime to market, sell or promote an item as “Indian” unless it was created by a citizen of a state or federally recognized tribe or by an artisan certified by a tribe. The law was written to prevent the historical and ongoing misrepresentation of Native arts by non-Native entities. Native artists and their advocates, however, have long complained about a lack of enforcement — all while fake and fraudulent goods have continued to flood the market. The law was updated in 2000 and in 2010 to address some of the concerns and the ARTIST Act, should it eventually be introduced, could lead to more protections for American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian artisans. In addition to extending the deadline for comments, Schatz’s committee announced a listening session for the ARTIST Act on April 26. Details have not yet been made public about the upcoming session, which is set to take place virtually. The Cherokee Nation, meanwhile, is urging its citizens to contact Schatz to limit the IACA to artists from federally recognized tribes. A template letter says such an amendment would protect Cherokee people from “fraudulent and fake artists who illegitimately claim our tribal history and culture.”
More than 200 groups across the nation claim to be “Cherokee,” according to a 2007 report from The Cherokee Phoenix. One group that sought federal recognition was even based in Oregon — thousands and thousands of miles from the present-day headquarters of the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina. The latter three are the only federally recognized Cherokee tribes. “The Indian Arts and Crafts Act actually recognizes state tribes,” Chief Hoskin told a meeting of the Inter-Tribal Council of the Five Civilized Tribes on Friday. “It puts tribes like the ‘Four Winds Cherokees of Louisiana‘ on par with the Cherokee Nation.” “The ‘Four Winds Cherokees of Louisiana’ is phony as a $3 bill folks,” Hoskin said of the group. “It’s fake.” “But federal law recognizes that fake tribe — and hundreds of other fake tribes — as real tribes. And they’re not real tribes. We need to change that,” he said..
You can take action today to protect Cherokee artists and #NativeArtists across #IndianCountry.— Cherokee Nation (@CherokeeNation) April 14, 2023
Urge Congress to strengthen the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, ensuring artists are citizens of federally recognized tribes.
Check out this 🧵to learn how to get involved! ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/vNQpjEzvK2
Oklahoma Voice: Tribal leaders left out of Republican governor’s event
Native America Calling: The 2023 Indigenous MacArthur Fellows
San Manuel Band donates $1 million to non-profits on Giving Tuesday
Montana Free Press: County withdraws from tribal law enforcement agreement
Cronkite News: Native youth come together for annual White House Forum
Native America Calling: Igloos and traditional winter homes
NAFOA: 5 Things You Need to Know this Week
OJ and Barb Semans: Indigenous people of this country understand suffering
Tom Cole: Promoting tribal sovereignty and self-determination in Congress
Native America Calling: Native in the Spotlight with Tescha Hawley
VIDEO: Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren at National Congress of American Indians
Native America Calling: Colonization and the Wampanoag Story by Linda Coombs
Native America Calling: The disparities facing South Dakota’s Native foster children
Native America Calling: The trouble finding safe drinking water