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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2017 


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Indian Market Warns Buyers of Fake Native American Art

The annual Indian Market comes to Santa Fe this weekend as lawmakers attempt to bolster federal laws to curb the flow of fake merchandise posing as Native American art. (Pixabay)
The annual Indian Market comes to Santa Fe this weekend as lawmakers attempt to bolster federal laws to curb the flow of fake merchandise posing as Native American art. (Pixabay)
August 16, 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. - More than 100,000 people will descend on Santa Fe for the annual Indian Market this weekend, and many may not realize lawmakers are working to make sure they buy genuine Native American art - not fakes or imports.

New Mexico's U.S. senators held hearings on the spread of bogus Native American merchandise last month, arguing that the federal government needs to improve protections for tribal artists against fraud that undercuts the value of their work.

Navajo weaver Joyce Begay-Foss, director of education at the New Mexico Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, said she doesn't want shoppers to end up with buyer's remorse.

"If you don't have that knowledge of buying Indian art, you need to do your homework now," she said. "It's come to that point, because there is so much imported product on the market - and you can even have Native people even selling imported products. It's come to that point, too."

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., vice chairman of the U.S. Senate's Committee on Indian Arts, intends to introduce a bill to strengthen federal law, saying it needs to be modernized to include online sales and address international jewelry rings that copy Native American designs.

Ken Van Wey, program specialist at the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, said this year's Indian Market will have an information booth about the laws that govern genuine Native American goods. He advised shoppers to treat these purchases the same as they would at a big-box store.

"I highly recommend that people be aware of what they're buying," he said. "People are going to be paying top dollar for items. I would think that if you were spending $2,000 to $3,000 on an object of art, you would want at least the same written guarantees and same sorts of things that you would want if you were buying $300 worth of home electronics."

The annual Indian Market began in 1922. More than 1,000 artists representing more than 100 tribes will participate in a juried show of pottery, baskets, textiles, silver, beadwork and paintings.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM