With Senate Passage, Domenici Maintinas Hope for House Action on Indian Arts Protection Bill
U.S. Senator Pete Domenici today said he is hopeful the House of Representatives will act before Congress adjourns on legislation he cosponsored to broaden the authority of federal law enforcement agencies to investigate fake Indian arts and crafts.
The Senate this week passed the Indian Arts and Crafts Amendments Act (S.1255) by unanimous consent. Domenici serves on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee that approved the measure in September. The bill will require approval by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for consideration.
The bill would amend the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 to authorize any law enforcement officer to investigate offenses involving the sale of goods misrepresented as being produced by American Indians. Currently, investigative authority is limited to the FBI.
"I am hopeful the House will quickly consider this legislation and pass it," Domenici said. "The battle against counterfeit Indian arts and crafts is an ongoing fight, and this bill would strengthen that fight."
"The marketing of fake Indian arts poses a serious economic threat to artists and craftsmen. Counterfeit goods amount to cheating these artisans and their customers," he said.
In the late 1980s, Domenici helped write federal law that required all imported Indian-style jewelry and crafts to be permanently stamped with its country of origin to protect genuine Native American arts and crafts. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 prohibited misrepresentation in marketing of Indian arts and crafts products within the United States.
Current law is written so that only the FBI has the authority to investigate and make arrests in cases of suspected Indian art counterfeiters. S.1255 would amend the law to expand existing federal investigative authority to such federal agencies as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Office of Law Enforcement.