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Continued from Page 182 practiced 200 years ago. And their teacher has become one of the most highly regarded craftworkers in the Southern Appalachians. One of my favorite craftsmen anywhere is James Going Back Chiltoskey, master whittler and wood sculptor, whose work is characterized by precision, realism and smoothness. His favorite subjects are animals of the woodlands, carved in every wood from sugar pine of California to rockhard lignum vitae of the tropics, but he also filled more church commissions for statues of Sanint Francis than he can remember. At one time, when Chiltoskey taught woodwork at the Indian School in Cherokee, a plump little girl named Amanda Crowe came to his class armed with a pocket knife and half-whittled wooden rabbit; she had started carving almost before she could talk. She is now the teacher in woodcarving and sculpture. In her own right Miss Crowe has won national recognition for her work in almost every medium: wood, metal, ceramics and terra cotta, including large, modern pieces selling for several hundred dollars. Two hundred Cherokee craftsmen are members of the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, whose annual sales have grown from $7,000 in 1946 to $41,000 last year. Recently this cooperative organization erected the most modern building in Cherokee as its headquarters. To indicate prices: baskets range from $2 to $23; linen guest towels are $1.75; small carved animals, $1.60, large ones $6.75 up; and hand-carved cherry dolls $6 up. Among other tribes as well, ancient crafts are being preserved or revived. The Choctaw of Mississippi have renewed their basketry. So have the Makah, of Neah Bay, Washington. In upper New York State the last remnants of the great League of the Iroquois continue to make their "false faces" of wood and braided corn husks (though only a few have been found for sale, more are becoming available now). This cultural story has far from reached its climax. In the fall of 1962 the Bureau of Indian Affairs opened a new Institute of Indian Art at Santa Fe to encourage students of all tribes. The Indian community is growing (the Navajo tribe, for instance, at a greater rate than the national population). Wherever the Indian still lives on his own soil, he expresses spirit and history through his craft. As Dr. Frederick Dockstader, chairman of the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, told me, "Crafts have brought a dignity, a pride of self, to the Indian, and enabled the rest of us to discover his true genius." Finding The Authentic There is no harm in the purchase of pseudo-Indian merchandise, as long as the buyer realizes he is getting a machine-made facsimile. The trouble is that counterfeit items are sometimes sold at high prices, and it takes extreme care to avoid being led astray. The merchandising that I find least forgivable is the sale of "Indian-type" curios (made in Hong Kong) in some of the National Parks, where concessioners are permitted to exercise their preference for high mark-ups and profits. The best general rule to assure purchase of authentic Indian crafts is to shop only at tribal guilds or at dealers with a reputation for handling quality articles. Buying from individual Indians who trade on street corners can be hazardous. Some sell cheap curios, such as pottery painted with poster colors after firing, or substandard items rejected by the guilds. Others sell ten-cent-store jewelry at five times what they paid. The truth is that few people can outbargain the Indian. In shops, the most frequent misrepresentations are accomplished by association: the genuine and the machine-made are displayed side by side or intermingled, with the implication they are all genuine. The buyer should be alert to tricky labels ("Indian design," "Indian style," "Indian made") which are legal within the framework of a Federal law prohibiting fraudulent labeling of imitations. "Indian made" is often used for products made by machines operated by Indians, but by no means craft items. The buyer has the right to ask for a bill of sale with certification of authenticity, which no honest dealer will refuse. If you have questions about a purchase, or believe you have been duped, advise the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Department of Interior, Washington 25, D.C. Indian paintings are becoming more widely available in the galleries of New York and other cities at prices ranging from thirty-five to several hundred dollars. Annual shows are held at the PHILBROOK ART CENTER, Tulsa, Oklahoma; the NEW MEXICO MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, Santa Fe; and at Scottsdale, Arizona. The DENVER ART MUSEUM and DE YOUNG MEMORIAL MUSEUM, San Francisco, have also played a large part in the encouragement and presentation of Indian paintings and drawings. Craft items, authentic and carefully chosen, are sold at a few museums in major cities, including THE MUSEUM OF THE AMERICAN INDIAN, New York, THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM, THE MUSEUM OF ART, Baltimore, THE DE YOUNG MEMORIAL MUSEUM and THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, San Francisco. The newest important display and sales outlet is the AMERICAN INDIAN ARTS CENTER, 843 Lexington Avenue (near 64th Street), New York, operated under the auspices of the Association on American Indian Affairs. The following craft organizations are further reliable sources, well worth visiting in the course of one's travels. A few, which are are indicated, provide mail-order lists. Even they may be slow in replying, though patience will provide its reward. ALASKA NATIVE ARTS AND CRAFTS--P.O. Box 883, Juneau, Alaska (mail order). HOPI ARTS AND CRAFTS GUILD--Oraibi, Arizona. PAPAGO TRIBAL STORE ENTERPRISE--Box 296, Sells, Arizona. NAVAJO ARTS AND CRAFTS GUILD--Window Rock, Arizona (mail order). HOOPA SUBAGENCY--Hoopa, California SEMINOLE ARTS AND CRAFTS CENTER--6075 Stirling Road Hollywood, Florida (mail order). TAMA INDIAN CRAFTS--Route 2, Tama, Iowa. PIPESTONE INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS--Pipestone, Minnestoa. CHOCTAW CRAFT WORKERS ASSOCIATION--Choctaw Area Field Office, Philadelphia, Mississippi. NORTHERN PLAINS INDIANS CRAFT ASSOCIATION--804 North 29th Street, Billings, Montana (mail order). Also the MUSEUM OF THE PLAINS INDIAN, at Browning, Montana, includes an arts and crafts shop, operated by the Northern Plains Association. QUALLA ARTS AND CRAFTS MUTUAL- P.O. Box 76, Cherokee, North Carolina (mail order). OKLAHOMA INDIAN ARTS AND CRAFTS COOPERATIVE-P.O. Box 447, Anadarko, Oklahoma (a part of the SOUTHERN PLAINS INDIAN MUSEUM). SEQUOYAH INDIAN WEAVERS ASSOCIATION-Tahlequah, Oklahoma. TIPI SHOP, SIOUX EXHIBIT & CRAFT CENTER- Box 1504, Rapid City, South Dakota (mail order). SHOSHONE INDIAN CRAFT SHOP-Wind River Agency, Fort Washakie, Wyoming. INDIAN CRAFT SHOP-Room 1023, Department of the Interior Building, Washington 25, D.C. Sells carefully chosen arts and crafts of many tribes. Text and list by Michael Frome [[picture]]
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