Significant Gains and Accomplishments
- American Indian Arts & Crafts Act
- Makes it illegal “to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product 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.”
- Intellectual property rights
- Two-thirds of team names with Indigenous references have changed since 1970
- A number of music festivals have banned headdresses and war bonnets
- Increase in awareness of Indigenous cultural appropriation on social media
- The Indian Arts and Crafts Board
- This board operates through the Department of the Interior in the U.S. in Washington, D.C. It was initially put in place to address the issue of Native items made by non-Native people or manufacturers and being sold as Native made. If someone gets prosecuted for doing so, they may be fined up to $250,000 or a five-year jail term.
- Trademark law
- You can use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) to search the 500+ tribes to see if they’re trademarked.
Work Yet To Be Done
- More outlets for the expression of Indigenous identity
- More education about Indigenous culture and history in school curriculums
- More education materials aimed for informing Aboriginal peoples of their intellectual property rights
- Intellectual property laws to address specific needs of Aboriginal groups
- More awareness of Indigenous cultural appropriation on social media
- Trademark Law
- Some tribes don’t want to trademark their cultural property. This is because the requirement that U.S. trademark be used in commerce may itself be offensive if the name or symbol in question is something that is sacred, secret, or otherwise not an appropriate subject for commercialization.
- American Indian Arts & Crafts Act
- Most lucrative products aren’t considered an art or a craft such as cars, more specifically the Jeep Cherokee. Mass-produced clothing also isn’t included since clothing designs aren’t copyrightable in the U.S. in general. This makes it easy for companies to shirk the law. Therefore, if you’re not falsely suggesting that your items are Native-made, or the product of a particular Native nation, you’re legally good to go.
- There are still over 1,000 racist team mascots waiting to be changed
Some Current Activists
- Adrienne Keene
- Jessica Metcalfe
- Suzan Harjo
- Chelsea Vowel
- Daunnette Reyome
Where to Get More Information
- Beyond Buckskin (blog)
- Urges the public to stop appropriating Native American fashions and to support Indigenous designers and artisans. It also features a boutique with jewelry, accessories, clothing and more crafted by Native American designers. The blog is maintained by Jessica Metcalfe (Turtle Mountain Chippewa) who has a doctorate in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona
- Borrowed Power: Essays on Cultural Appropriation (book by Bruce H. Ziff)
- Collection of essays edited by Bruce Ziff that focuses specifically on Western appropriation of Native American cultures. The book explores the artifacts, symbols and concepts typically targeted for appropriation.
- Native Appropriations (blog)
- Examines representations of Native Americans in popular culture through a critical lens. Adrienne Keene, who is of Cherokee descent, runs the blog, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Her blog examines images of Native Americans in film, fashion, sports and more. It also offers tips to the public on combating cultural appropriation of Native peoples.
- Authentic Indigenous (website)
- Promotes and supports authentic Indigenous artworks in the retail and wholesale marketplace