The Meaning and Value of Authenticity

When contemplating a purchase of American Indian art, it is of the utmost importance to take authenticity into account. Considerations include whether or not the artist is truly American Indian, whether the materials used in the artistic creation are genuine, and also whether the artist was the primary creator, or the item was just touched by an Indian. There is rampant fraud in this market, and ultimately the Indian populace, the lowest economic class in the U.S., suffers the most. This factor is easily corrected by education; however, education in this area is severely lacking.

American Indian is not a racial classification (we are all of the human race), but rather a legal distinction. Without documented proof of membership in an Indian tribe (with minor exception), a person who sells art as American Indian is in violation of the Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, public law 101-644 signed by President Bush on 11-29-90. This law was deemed necessary by Congress to protect Indian artists and the public from fraudulent representation. The wise collector of Indian art makes certain to buy genuine original creations which will retain their value over time.

A purchase of genuine American Indian art will retain or increase in value, depending, of course, on the quality of the art. Black Eagle takes great pride in using genuine materials in his art. He uses real bison and deer sinews, rawhides and ground pigments from Mother Earth, the way his people have done for centuries. Certain items are traded to the Indian, such as iron, bone hair pipe, glass and brass beads, and some wools, and he continues this tradition. He personally creates his hand made art.

Black Eagle is documented Shoshone and Yokut.


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