Rather than hijack MKathleen's "Kachina" thread, I thought it more appropriate to continue the discussion of "authenticity of Native American arts" in a new thread.
Originally Posted by Barbara Art
The bottom line seems to be whether the image is respected or disrespected. Adventurous country!
I know of other artists in the SW who make "their own" Kachina dolls. The question arises as to whether they are copying "authentic Indian made" imagery or inventing their own. In either case, I don't think there is a law preventing it as long as someone doesn't claim to be American Indian - thereby imparting fraudalent "authenticity" to the work. I've seen many pieces labeled "Made in China" as an example. "Wind Catchers" seem to be a popular replicated item. I've even received small Wind Catchers in mail solicitations for various American Indian charities - and the label on them says "Made in China."
As an excellent example of how a small group of people can do huge damage to an art project, consider the case of John Houser's gigantic sculpture of Don Juan Oņate - recently installed and dedicated at the airport in El Pasol, Texas.
As Houser originally conceived his project, it was to include a larger number of monumental bronzes depicting the "Twelve Travelers." These were people instrumental in colonizing and settling the SW USA beginning with the Spanish conquistadors. Houser completed and installed the first bronze, of a Spanish monk or priest, some years ago in downtown El Paso, without arousing much controversy.
The Don Juan statue was initially to be installed at a Rio Grande border crossing point between the USA and Mexico. But a small minority of activists caused that plan to be changed. And not only that, the name of the statue has been changed so that it now represents a "generic" conquistador rather than a specific individual. The change of siting to the El Paso airport was done in hopes it would minimize the risk that the sculpture would suffer future vandalism.
Further information on Don Juan Oņate and problems with damages to his images in SW settings can be found in this Wikipedia article.