How To Avoid Buying Fake Native American Products

How To Avoid Buying Fake Native American Products

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  • February 19,2021
  • Tachini Drums

Despite the illegality of the practice, you’ll find a shocking number of inauthentic Native American goods on the market. These fake products are often mass-produced, crafted with man-made materials, and of questionable quality. When you’re purchasing Native American products, you want to make sure the pieces you’re getting are genuine. By purchasing genuine products, you’re supporting actual, talented Native American craftsmen and craftswomen and getting a timeless piece that will stay with your family for generations. Distinguishing fake products from authentic products isn’t always easy. If you’re wondering how to avoid buying fake Native American products, try out these tips and tricks for identifying fake products and for finding authentic work either in person or online.

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990

The Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 made representing inauthentic products as authentically Native American illegal. If someone tries to market an inauthentic product as authentic, they can be subject to hefty fines, jail time, and other legal consequences. When you’re searching for products online, take note of how the seller markets the item. Do they use the terms “Indian” or “Native American” or the name of a particular tribe in the product name or description? Or do they market the item as “Indian-style” or “Native American–style”? If a product is marked with the “-style” tag, there’s a good chance it isn’t genuine.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean every product marketed without the “-style” tag is completely authentic. When a seller disregards the Indian Arts and Craft Act of 1990, how do you tell if the product they’re selling is genuine? Luckily, there are a few simple tricks for spotting inauthentic products.

How To Spot Inauthentic Products

The easiest way to avoid buying fake Native American products is to know what to look for. Native American craftspeople put a lot of time and effort into their products. These products are crafted from natural materials, such as animal rawhide and bones, and made by hand with traditional techniques. Understandably, most of them won’t come cheap. If you come across a product that’s shockingly inexpensive, it’s probably too good to be true.

Another way to tell if a product is genuine is by examining its quality. Inauthentic products are more likely to have:

  • Unsigned or unstamped designs
  • Blurry photographs (if sold online)
  • Cheap, man-made materials
  • Stones that are unusually cut or blemish-free
  • Shoddy handiwork

Tips for Buying Authentic Work

When you’re searching for authentic Native American products, it’s a good idea to shop at established dealers that can give you a written guarantee or verification of authenticity. If a seller can’t provide you anything but their spoken word, it’s better to steer clear. If you’re buying products at a powwow or annual fair, check the event’s vendor requirements. If they don’t mention anything about authenticity, make sure to get written verification from the vendors themselves. When you’re shopping online, you’ll have to use your better judgement. Avoid products that are cheap, that have sketchy descriptions, and that look like they’re in poor condition.

Tachini Drums is the best place to find authentic, masterfully crafted Native American drums and drum supplies. Come browse our selection of Native American drum stands for sale, or let one of our other products connect you to Mother Earth’s heartbeat.

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