Thread: IACA ReDux
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Old 01-07-2012, 01:43 AM   #96
yaahl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keely View Post
The IACA is not just to protect the artists, but it is also to protect the consumer. Getting the consumer educated is a big part of being able to enforce the law.

Art on the secondary market, I am not sure if I am reading the question correctly or know how you mean for it to be, but if someone purchases my work and then re-sells in the secondary market, I have no control, however, it is the responsiblity of the secondary seller to provide the proof I am enrolled in a recognized tribe, if a person purchases my work, and there is no proof of enrollment with it, they are welcomed to contact me and I am always happy to help them out.

The IACA does not cover a person who claims to be of "Native descent" that person must be enrolled with a recognized tribe, the only way a person can currently avoid the enrollment issue is to be able to obtain a legal statement from a recognized tribe, which states the person is not enrolled but they are a decendant, of which the tribe does recognize them as a Indian artist from their tribe. There are people who cannot enroll for many reasons, but they are Indian, and it is up to the tribe to give them the artist recognition.

Revisions of the law are being worked on.

It is a tough road to enforce, years ago at a art festival, a woman from Missouri who had a printed out paper on her table that read "Indian beadworker artist, Mrs. Jane Doe is from the Cherokee Tribe of Missouri, she does her beadwork in the old traditional ways...." I flat told her she was full of crap, to which I got the story of how her ancestors hid from the removal.. I also complained to the orginizers of the art festival, they thought I was telling a story, they made the choice not to believe me, and stated that bead artist would be returning the following year... I got pamplets from the IACA and took them to the group who does the art festival, and told them that should they ever have a Indian artist again, make sure they are enrolled in a recognized tribe, if they have any questions they can contact me.... The woman from Missouri has NOT been invited back and the Indian artists who have since come, are in compliance with the law.
I guess what I'm seeing in the IACA is a lack of protection for the actual artist as opposed to the consumer protection it offers.

I've seen both sides of the debate where one faction claims it's to stop non-natives from making a buck on the back of native artisans and crafters. I agree with the notion that something is necessary to stop the mass production of "Indian" trinkets that are made in China and I'd love to see those little brown dolls vanish at the airport gift shops as much as anyone. The other faction sets out that the act is all about protecting them from being ripped off by non-natives by those nons getting a piece of the market pie when they think it all belongs to them.

When you really look at the IACA, it's teeth are more towards the consumer protection rather than the artist and personally, I think that it's another piece of legislation that serves no one but the non-native tourist/consumer.

I'm going to hazard a guess and assume most folks here have heard of if not seen the works of Haida artist, Bill Reid. Think about this, way back in our dark days of being in the total control of Indian Affairs, band membership was defined by a plethora of categories set out by Indian Affairs. One category was the enfranchisement of Indian women who married a non-status Indian man. Essentially, it made instant white woman of Indian women based on who they married.

Back when Bill Reid was born, according to Indian Affairs, his mother, Haida, married a non-status Scottish man and therefore would be considered a non Indian by Indian Affairs. Now the Haida people would have always considered Bill to be Haida because everything comes through the mother but his parents didn't tell him anything about his Haida roots until he was a teen. During Bill's more prolific time period as a Haida artist he was according to Indian Affairs, legally not an Indian. He wouldn't have his legal status restored until 1985 when Bill C31 was enacted. International collectors might have found this troubling as the Act is retroactive to the 1930s.

Can you imagine what the art world would have lost if Bill had been living in the US (as he could have - his father was an American citizen)? None of his work would ever have been considered native, let alone Haida. That's one of the reasons why I can't buy into the IACA completely. The other reason is that on the surface it looks like it protects Native artisans but if falls short of offering anything more than authenticating their work as Native.

I'm an advocate that if you're going to legislate something, then give the legislation teeth beyond the superficial. I'm a firm believer that as the copyright holder and Intellectual Property rights, visual artists really need to have those rights better protected. I also believe that there are still art dealers that are unscrupulous in the manner in which they procure their merchandise. Art dealers flocked to Cape Dorset and bought up soapstone carvings by the crate for a trivial amount and turned around and sold them for thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars to collectors. The Inuit never got a dime past what they were offered by the dealers. But they got smart and formed an Artist co-op in their communities to prevent members from being taken advantage by dealers.

IP rights for visual work has often been forgotten in the royalties debate. Musicians, performers, writers all get royalties when their works are sold and re-sold but visual artists (except in some jurisdictions like Cali) get nada. I wish the IACA would have included that provision for resale royalties. Why would those who see the act as a means to protect income, not seek future protection for additional income from re-sales. Provenance is included through the IACA, why not royalties?

Enforcement is something every legislative act has problems with. I guess the question is, why are they having problems enforcing it? If offenders are being identified, then what is causing the lack of prosecution? Is it that these offenders are being forewarned by being challenged in public and heading underground and the evidence disappears or is it that folks that know when there is an offender not calling the 1-800-snitch line to report them?

Think of it another way, if anyone knew that there was a welfare fraud living near them would they walk up to their door and tell them to stop? Or would they call their suspicions in to the appropriate authorities? Which is more likely to actually stop the offender from repeated behaviour?

anyway... my two elk teeth
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