Did you know it is illegal in Montana to represent an item as having been made by an American Indian unless it is true? This applies to retail store owners as well as individual producers.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) with the U.S. Department of Interior has recently completed a series of educational seminars in Montana Indian Country in conjunction with their recent release of a new brochure, Take Home a Treasure from Indian Country: Buy Authentic Montana Indian Arts and Crafts.
The seminars, “Promote and Protect Your Authentic Indian Art & Craftwork,” defined important consumer protection laws like the Indian Arts and Crafts Act and the Montana Consumer Protection Act, Intellectual Property protections such as Copyrights and Trademarks, and other business and legal information that could be helpful to Montana Indian artists and retail store owners selling their products.
Lonie Stimac (Made in Montana Program Manager) and Heather Sobrepena-George (Indian Country Economic Development Programs) had a busy but wildly successful and satisfying week of travelling to Crow Agency, Browning, and Pablo for these workshops. They reached more than fifty participants with information about Department of Commerce programs, and gained much knowledge of the issues that Native American artists face. Also in attendance were representatives from the Montana Arts Council.
For more information on the Native American Made in Montana program, Indian Country Programs, or Montana Arts Council please see the respective websites at madeinmontanausa.com/NAMIM, indiancountry.mt.gov, and art.mt.gov.