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Cultural Center to present Native American lecture series with talk about Indian Arts and Crafts Board on Nov. 9

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will continue its Native American lecture series with Sheryl Rakestraw, program specialist for the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Indian Arts and Crafts Board, on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2005 at 7 p.m. in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater at the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex, Charleston. The talk “The Indian Arts and Crafts Board” is free and open to the public.

Rakestraw will present an overview of the functions of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board (IACB) and the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The IACB promotes the economic development of American Indians and Alaska Natives of federally recognized tribes through the expansion of the Indian arts and crafts market. It also provides promotional opportunities, general business advice, and information on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act to Native American artists, craftspeople, businesses, museums and cultural centers of federally recognized tribes. In addition, the IACB operates three regional museums, conducts a promotional museum exhibition program, produces a “Source Directory of American Indian and Alaska Native Owned and Operated Arts and Crafts Businesses,” and oversees the implementation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

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. It is illegal to offer or display for sale, or sell any art or craft product in a manner that falsely suggests it is Indian-produced, an Indian product, or the product of a particular Indian or Indian tribe or Indian arts and crafts organization. For a first-time violation ofhe Act, an individual can face civil or criminal penalties up to $250,000 or a five-year prison term, or both. A business can be fined up to $1 million. Under the Act, an Indian is defined as a member of any federally or State- recognized Indian tribe, or an individual certified as an Indian artisan by an Indian tribe. The law covers all Indian and Indian-style traditional and contemporary arts and crafts produced after 1935.

Rakestraw holds a bachelor’s degree in art and urban studies and planning from the University of California at San Diego and a juris doctorate from the American University Washington College of Law. She spent five years as a development officer for various non-profit organizations including the San Diego State University Foundation, and served as a senior staff member for the American University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law. She practiced law for two years before joining the staff of the IACB. Her current position involves building the IABC’s intellectual property program, and developing cases under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.

For more information about the Native American lecture series or Rakestraw’s talk, contact (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at www.wvculture.org for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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