Two Western Washington artists billed with misrepresenting them selves as Native American carvers | USAO-WDWA

Yoshiko Yap

Seattle – In two individual criminal scenarios, Western Washington artists are billed with violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act (IACA) by symbolizing on their own as Indigenous American artists, when they have no tribal membership or heritage, announced U.S. Legal professional Nick Brown.  The gentlemen, 52-yr-old Lewis Anthony Rath, of Maple Falls, Washington, and 67-12 months-old Jerry Chris Van Dyke aka Jerry Witten, of Seattle, will make their initial appearance on the grievances in U.S. District Courtroom in Seattle at 2:00 PM right now.

“Our distinctive agents examine crimes that violate the Indian Arts and Crafts Act on behalf of the U.S. Division of the Interior and the Indian Arts and Crafts Board,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Support Workplace of Legislation Enforcement. “By flooding the market place with counterfeit Native American art and craftwork, these crimes cheat the buyer, undermine the economic livelihood of Indigenous American artists, and impairs Indian lifestyle. We thank the Indian Arts and Crafts Board and the U.S. Division of Justice for their aid with these investigations.”

The investigation of Jerry Van Dyke began in February 2019, when the Indian Arts and Crafts Board acquired a grievance that Van Dyke was representing himself as a Nez Perce Indian Artist, when in simple fact, he is not an enrolled tribal member.  Investigators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Provider made undercover buys at a gallery in the Pike Put Market place region of Seattle that marketed pendants Van Dyke experienced created as Indigenous American Art.  Van Dyke made use of the identify Witten for these sales.  When interviewed by brokers, Van Dyke admitted recognizing about the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, and admitted he was not a tribal member.  By the gallery Van Dyke experienced marketed extra than $1,000 well worth of carved pendants represented as Native American artwork based mostly on Aleut masks.

Van Dyke is charged with two counts of Misrepresentation of Indian Generated Products and Products,

The investigation of Anthony Rath commenced in Might 2019, immediately after a complaint to the Indian Arts and Crafts Board.  The investigation revealed that Rath falsely represented himself to be a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.   Undercover agents ordered a carved totem pole and necklace from the exact Pike Position Current market gallery for extra than $1,334.  Brokers observed the gallery had other carvings by Rath that were being represented as Native generated.  At a different store on the Seattle waterfront agents purchased a different carved totem pole and a mask, all over again represented to be Indian created.  The biography of the artist at the two stores falsely claimed that Rath was Indigenous American.  World-wide-web web sites Rath employed to market his artwork also falsely assert he is an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe.

When brokers executed a research warrant on Rath’s Whatcom County household and studio, they uncovered he also possessed feathers from secured birds: golden eagles and other migratory birds these as hawks, jays, owls and far more. 

Rath is billed with four counts of Misrepresentation of Indian Manufactured Products and Goods, 1 misdemeanor rely of Unlawful Possession of Golden Eagles Pieces and 1 misdemeanor rely of Unlawful Possession of Migratory Chicken Components.

Misrepresentation of Indian Manufactured Items and Items is punishable by up to 5 yrs in jail.  The misdemeanor counts relevant to bird parts are punishable by up to 1 12 months in prison.

The prices contained in the issues are only allegations.  A particular person is presumed harmless until and till he or she is tested guilty outside of a sensible doubt in a courtroom of law.

The cases are becoming investigated by the National Fish and Wildlife Service.  The cases are becoming prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Tate London.

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