80 Years of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board

My panel for the 20th biennial Native American Arts Studies Association conference has been accepted!

I am organizing a wonderful group of scholars to discuss the “Reflections, Reexaminations, and Realities: Eighty Years of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.” The conference  is scheduled for late September 2015. More to follow.

Abstract: The year 2015 marks the 80th anniversary of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB), a federal agency which seeks to “promote the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market.” Over its tenure, the IACB has understood its mission in multiple manifestations, including curating exhibitions, operating museums, managing art shops, sponsoring artist workshops, producing newsletters, and publishing artist directories. The agency, however, is not without its controversies; its legislation, the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, aimed to penalize counterfeit Indian art production and marketing but also established a legal definition of Indianness. What role has the IACB played in Native art over the years? What are the effects of government intervention into Native art? These papers provide historical and theoretical analyses of the policies and programs of the IACB from its roots in the Indian New Deal to the present day. Likewise, they address the complex issues of authenticity, authority, appropriation, and economics of Native art.


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