Indian Arts and Crafts Act of
On November 29, 1990, "The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990" (P.L.
101-644) was signed to promote and protect domestic American Indian artists and
craftspeople by providing meaningful deterrents to those who misrepresent their products.
This act is a truth-in-advertising law that is designed to prevent products from being
marketed as "Indian made" when the products are not, in fact, made by Indians as
defined in the Act. To be considered an Indian Artist, the individual artist or
craftsperson must be a member of an Indian Tribe, or must be certified as an Indian
Artisan by an Indian Tribe. The law states in part:
"It is unlawful to offer or display for sale or sell any good, with or without a
Government trademark, 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 purposes of this act,
"Indian tribe" is defined as:
"A Federally Recognized Indian Tribe, or
A Federally Recognized Native Entity of Alaska, or
A State-Recognized Tribe"
It is a criminal offense for someone knowingly to violate this law. For a first
criminal offense, an individual is fined not more than $250,000 and/or jailed not more
than 5 years; subsequent violations are not more than $1,000,000 and/or 15 years. A
corporation is fined not more that $1,000,000 for a first offense; for subsequent
violations a corporation is fined not more that $5,000,000.