Woman’s lawsuit challenges Oklahoma tribal artwork law
The Associated Press and The Oklahoman - November 24, 2016 11:40 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – An American Indian photographer and artist says Oklahoma law violates her constitutional right to free speech by restricting her ability to label her works as American Indian-made.
The Oklahoman reports Peggy Fontenot filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court Tuesday. Fontenot says a change made earlier this year to the state’s American Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1974 is unconstitutional because it prohibits her from describing her artwork as American Indian-made in Oklahoma.
Fontenot says she could be guilty of a misdemeanor for marketing her work in that way while in Oklahoma.
The state law says an artist must belong to a tribe recognized by the U.S. Bureau of Indian affairs to use that label to market their works. Fontenot is a member of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Virginia, which isn’t federally recognized.