Crackdown On Fake Native Art

New Mexico – Zuni silversmith Tony Eriacho wants to educate the public about American Indian jewelry and crafts that aren't what they seem.

At a recent Zuni arts and crafts show in New Mexico, he showed visitors Indian-style fetish animals made in the Philippines; colored stones that were really made of plastic; and dust of turquoise and other rocks glued together to look like solid turquoise.

What bothers Eriacho is that such items often are fraudulently marketed as authentic, Indian-made goods which violates federal law.

Congress this summer passed amendments to the 1990 Indian Arts and Crafts Act aimed at cracking down on sellers who falsely suggest their goods are Indian- or Alaska Native-made.

The revisions allow all federal law enforcement officers to investigate suspected violations.

Before, only FBI agents could investigate.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.