Trading Post Times
Volume 14, Issue 1
SPECIAL POINTS OF INTEREST:
River Trading Post Scottsdale 14th Arts of
Native America Show and Sale—March 2—5
Heard Museum Indian Market
R i v e r T r a d i n g P o s t
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
Favorite Places: Cow
Arts of Native America
14th Annual Show & Sale
Images: An Education
Once the mecca for authentic American Indian Art, Santa
Fe has seen the encroachment of retail establishments that
make huge dollars selling imported goods that they represent
as authentic American Indian art. Over the years, consumers
have recognized this and many have literally stopped visiting
The Santa Fe Plaza and Canyon Road have been hit particu-
larly hard by the sleaze, and many places carry cheap im-
ports (usually jewelry) which is misrepresented as American
Indian made. There are still a few places owned by reputa-
ble dealers who sell the real deal—and guarantee it—and the
vendors under the Portal at the Palace of the Governors
continue to be strictly regulated.
The magic of Santa Fe as a center for creativity, arts
and culture is diminishing, and the many shops with
knock-offs and deceitful selling practices has hurt its
Whether to protect legitimate dealers or American Indian artists, restore lost tax revenues, or restore
Santa Fe’s reputation, Santa Fe has passed new legislation that establishes a special “cultural dis-
trict” where those businesses selling American Indian Art must hold a special business license and
must adhere to some special business practices—many of which are “truth in advertising” practices.
It also requires that a certificate of authenticity be available for every piece of art sold as Native
American. Those who do not comply will have their business license revoked.
It is good to see Santa Fe take steps to protect consumers from sales of “fake” American Indian art,
and we wish more communities would take similar action. We do wonder though how Santa Fe
will enforce the new legislation. A federal law, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act was passed in 1990
which prohibits the sale of items that are misrepresented as authentic American Indian art. Enforce-
ment falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.
While that legislation is great in concept, the IACB has had only limited success in enforcing the
legislation due to manpower and budget issues. It seems that Santa Fe may have similar problems
and the City Council will have to address efficient and effective ways of enforcement.
The vaunted Santa Fe plaza (top) and
Canyon Road have been badly
damaged by misrepresented sales of
American Indian art.