Saturday 26 July 2014

"Indian" Crafts in the USA

In relation to the discussion of the Hopi masks fiasco, I was reprimanded by a US lawyerly-lady from the LCCHP for opining on the Museums Security List that the US "implements" (I use the term loosely) the 1970 UNESCO Convention rather badly in terms of cultural property originating in the US. Despite her remonstrations, I maintain that view, but was pointed by her to some disturbing legislation which she claims indicates that I am wrong.
I suggest Mr. Barford [...] look at the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, 25 U.S.C. 305 et seq. (1990). This Act is further explained as to enforcement in Protection for Products of Indian Art and Craftsmanship, 25 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 309 (1996). [my hyperlinks]
Yes, just look at them and what they cover - and what they do not cover. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 "is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States". This has nothing at all to do with the 1970 Convention the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and it will need explaining to me in words of one syllable, obviously, what relevance this has to the French case in question.

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