The artwork of Native Americans is a beautiful form of self expression and culture that serves as a building block for modern art. The use of materials, colors, and design was important to the Indian way of life. Various items were used to create beautiful works of art such as baskets, blankets, paintings, and carvings. Bone, wood, cotton, and even fruits were utilized in the making of Indian art.
The Eskimos made statues of animals from the tusks of seals and whales, while the Pueblo Indians wove intricate baskets from reeds and bark. Navajo Indians made elaborate blankets of all different colors from natural wools. Everything that the Indians created was a symbol of something else, whether it was a spirit, God, or family member. Each piece created had a very special meaning that went beyond the naked eye. The use of art in Native American culture played an important role in the Indian way of life, and carries on still today.
The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 created a new important law that prohibits the sale of art with the name “Indian” attached to it if it is not authentic. The penalties for selling such materials without merit are quite severe. In fact, violators can face thousands of dollars in fines, and even serve possible prison time. This Act was created to protect the integrity and authenticity of real Native American art. For businesses selling things like jewelry and clothing and calling it “Indian”, it is a violation of real American Indians’ heritage. The board who oversees the enforcement of this Act is the only federally appointed board designed to protect the economic and cultural heritage of the Native American’s art. The artwork created by Indians is revered as special, meaningful, and beautiful, and each piece is one of a kind, reflecting the true spirit of the American Indian.
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