The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) are considering changes to the laws and regulations governing Indian Arts and Crafts. Both SCIA and BIA developed proposals to revise, amend, and enforce the laws and regulations that protect both buyers and sellers of authentic Native American-made products from the exploitation of counterfeits.
On March 13, 2023, SCIA announced the release of a discussion draft entitled “Amendments to Respect Traditional Indigenous Skill and Talent Act of 6 2023” or the “ARTIST Act of 2023.” The ARTIST Act would amend the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA). The IACA is a “truth in advertising” law prohibiting products from being falsely marketed as “Indian-made.” Violations of the IACA may result in civil and, or criminal penalties.
Per the discussion draft, SCIA says the ARTIST Act would amend IACA by expanding protections, definitions, and authorities for violations against traditional Indigenous skills and talent. The discussion draft is available here, and a one-pager summary is available here. Comments are due to SCIA by May 19, 2023, and may be submitted to Artist@indian.senate.gov.
On April 3, 2023, BIA published proposed revisions to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board Regulations at 25 C.F.R. ch. II. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (Board) is responsible for implementing the IACA, which aims to protect Indian artists and art.
The regulations include procedures for:
- Certifying an Indian product;
- Submitting and renewing an Indian Product Certification Application;
- Being included in the “Source Directory of American Indian and Alaska Native Owned and Operated Arts and Crafts Businesses” that will be maintained on the Board website; and
- Utilizing the certification trademark that the Board obtained under the Lanham Act, which is the primary federal trademark statute.
The proposed regulations also include changes to the definitions for “Indian,” “Indian product,” and “Indian tribe.”
BIA held two consultation sessions in April on the proposed revisions called a “Consultation Draft.” BIA will hold four more consultations in May and July and two more in August. A letter to Tribal leaders discussing the proposed changes and consultation sessions is available here. The “Consultation Draft” is available here. Written comments on the draft revisions are due by September 1, 2023, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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