Summer 2018 Edition

Published: August 1, 2018


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President's Letter
Notes from John Molloy

Dear Fellow Members of ATADA –

Here we are again: it is Native Arts Week in Santa Fe.  With a strong economy, we are all looking forward to a brisk market. There is one important new addition: our long-awaited Online Show which will run from August 9 – 19th.  The show is open to all full members of ATADA and there is no charge to participate.  

Each participant is entitled to exhibit one object.  We ask for a professional quality photograph but we will make the process easy for members wishing to exhibit a piece in the online show. There will be a photographer on hand August 8th during set-up for the Objects of Arts Show to photograph one object that an ATADA member would like to place in the online show - we are asking everyone to take a look at the show and, if possible, participate. Our goal is to make ATADA a marketing tool for the membership. Dealers interested in participating should email by August 4th for instructions on how to register. 

ATADA continues to have serious concerns regarding passage of the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act, or STOP Act.  In May, we held a Board of Directors meeting in Washington, D.C., and Bob Gallegos, Kim Martindale and I spent a day on Capitol Hill voicing our concerns. We met with staff members from eight key congressional offices; one Congressman, Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), took the time to meet with our group in person.

Almost everyone we spoke with in Washington was open to our input and promised to take our views into consideration. Some asked for ATADA to suggest alternative language for the bill. We expect that STOP will be revised and be brought to a floor vote in the fall. (We have no way of knowing at this point whether a revised bill will incorporate our positive suggestions or whether it will include language we believe is unconstitutional as well as damaging to museum, collector, and trade interests.)

We must continue to be vigilant, and to make certain that any bill which goes forward does not damage businesses and cost jobs in the Southwestern region. Nationally, STOP will result in consumer confusion and harm Native artisans and legitimate businesses because of the assumption that all Indian artifacts are tainted by illegality.

Unfortunately, there are forces at play which are inherently anti-market – and will promote anti-collecting agendas even at the cost of harming Native artisans. ATADA will continue to work directly with tribes and to consult with all other stakeholders, including collectors, dealers, academics, and museums to protect their interests as well. Our goal is that any legislation should serve the positive goals of ensuring a responsible, lawful market, should protect rights to private property and legal due process for all Americans, and will bring real benefits to tribes by securing important ceremonial objects for the future, while preserving an economically sound antique and contemporary Indian arts marketplace.

To continue our vigilance, we need to be able to fund our cause.  Please consider contributing to the Roger Fry Memorial Legal Fund, even if you have previously contributed.  The struggle continues and we continue to need your help.  

Contributions can be made online through our secure contribution form at:
Contributions by check should be payable to ATADA with “Legal Fund” listed in the memo.
Mail to: David Ezziddine, Executive Director, at P.O. Box 157, Marylhurst, OR 97036

Over the last year, ATADA has built solid relationships with the Native community through our Voluntary Returns Program. We have returned over 100 important objects to tribal religious authorities.  Please consult our website for further information about this successful program, which is doing a far better job than any legislation would to return key objects to tribes. This signature program has outstanding potential to bring the arts community together with tribal partners.

We also continue our work on other legal and policy fronts of special interest to our international tribal art colleagues. These include submitting testimony countering comprehensive import restrictions on antique and ethnographic objects including Tuareg tribal materials, and colonial South and Central American art, and opposing foreign government nationalization of religious and cultural materials from exiled Middle Eastern Jewish communities and Tibetan and Uyghur minorities.

Since the 1950s, it has been the explicit policy of the United States to support policies that “facilitate the free flow of educational, scientific and cultural materials by the removal of barriers that impede the international movement of such materials,” as stated in the UNESCO Florence Conference of 1952, and to encourage the circulation of art “with a view to contributing to the cause of peace through the freer exchange of ideas and knowledge across national boundaries,” (from the Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Materials Importation Act of 1966).

Please help us to achieve these worthy goals! Wishing all of our members a successful season in the tribal art fairs upcoming in Santa Fe and Paris.

Yours truly,



In Memoriam
Remembering Those We Have Lost


Carol LeMasney Hayes

October 10, 1933–February 21, 2018

Carol died suddenly and peacefully after a day spent in a booth at the Marin Indian Art Show, doing what she loved best, connecting with people who will always remember her. She grew up in the East Bay, attended Oakland High School and graduated from Stanford University, where she met her husband, Allan Hayes. They married in 1958, moved to Sausalito, and in 1963, bought and remodeled the hillside home where they raised their two sons, Mark and Keith, and where they still live. 

Carol was a painting and drawing major at Stanford, and quickly learned sophisticated antique restoration skills, a talent she used for several important Bay Area antique dealers. Meanwhile, the family antique collection outgrew the house and garage, and in 1980, Carol started Summerhouse Antiques, at first in a collective in San Anselmo. The business concentrated on general antiques until 1989, when Carol and Allan made their first trip to Santa Fe. They quickly fell in love with Southwestern Indian pottery, and the business gradually evolved into today's Summerhouse Indian Art. In the years since, Carol mainly applied her restoration skills to pieces of that pottery that needed help.


They found the art so fascinating that they felt they had to tell people about it, and In 1991, their oldest friends, John and Brenda Blom, joined them on a Santa Fe trip. Together, the Bloms and the Hayeses built a joint collection and wrote a book, Southwestern Pottery, Anasazi to Zuni, which came out in 1996. A small book, Collections of Southwestern Pottery, followed in 1998. 

Carol became increasingly interested in the pottery of southern Arizona and set out to write a book about that specialized subject. However, they learned so much history that the book became a broad history of the Desert told with artifacts. She and Allan co-authored The Desert Southwest, Four Thousand Years of Life and Art, a 2006 Southwest Book of the Year. In 2008, she and Allan created an in-depth website, In 2012, Shire Publications of Oxford, England asked for a small-format book, and Carol and Allan co-wrote and photographed Pottery of the Southwest. Meanwhile, the first book Southwestern Pottery, proved to be a niche best-seller and stayed in print for 20 years, to the point where it was hopelessly outdated. Carol, Allan and John Blom rewrote and rephotographed it completely, and an expanded Second Edition came out in 2015. 

During those years, Carol served on the Sausalito Trees and Views Committee and on the Board of Directors of the Sausalito Historical Society. She and Allan also served on the Board of Directors of The Museum of the American Indian in Novato, where they curated exhibits and where Carol provided restoration skills as needed.

The family would appreciate contributions to one of Carol's favorite organizations, Habitat for Humanity and the Marin Humane Society.

-Allan Hayes


Bruce Van Landingham
A long-time member of ATADA and a fixture on the antique American Indian art scene for over thirty years, Bruce Van Landingham passed away in a kayak accident in Bozeman, Montana on July 8, 2018.

Bruce and I got to know each other when we both lived in Santa Fe in the 90’s and early part of this century and did dozens of transactions during those years. I always enjoyed speaking to Bruce about the material. He brought an artist’s eye to the work and I frequently learned something from our discussions. He had a fresh approach to the art and it was clear that he had a deep connection to it.

Jim Flury first met Bruce in the latter part of the 1960’s when Bruce had a frame shop that also sold art in Wichita, Kansas.  Jim remembers Bruce from those years as having a connection to cowboy art as well. Bruce studied art at Wichita State University and was still making art when he lived in Santa Fe. Jim remembers going to obscure rodeos with Bruce and assorted adventures in search of the sublime.

Bruce opened Sundog Gallery in Bozeman, Montana in 2014 with Daniel Vernay.  Daniel recalls that he first met Bruce circa 2006 and remembers Bruce’s passion for Native art, culture & history.  “He was a fine guy to be around,” says Daniel. “Always positive and he could find a way to laugh even in hard times.” We will miss his smiling presence at the shows this summer, his clear eye for the art and his readiness to do a deal.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Jonnie, and two sons. 

 - John Molloy

Calendar of Events

Online Show 2018
Find the Perfect Addition to Your Collection

Show-logo v3.png

ATADA is proud to present this inaugural online show featuring the finest Native American and Tribal art from trusted ATADA Dealers.


Starts: August 9, 2018 • 11:00am MST
Ends:  August 19, 2018 • 11:59pm MST 

Where: This online show will be available wherever you may be via your computer, tablet or smartphone!  

You can view the show at your leisure and purchase with confidence directly from the dealer, knowing that each item is covered by the ATADA Seller's Guarantee

Set your reminders and bookmark

• Official Partner of Native Art Week •


Native Art Week - A conversation with Ira Wilson, Executive Director of Santa Fe Indian Market
by Audrey Rubenstein

Ira Wilson, Executive Director - Santa Fe Indian Market

Ira Wilson, Executive Director - Santa Fe Indian Market

The first annual Santa Fe “Native Art Week” is a week-long celebration of the nation’s finest Native Art offerings in the Americas’ leading destination for Native Arts and culture. The City-wide event features curated Native art exhibitions, historic and contemporary objects markets and shows, film screenings and gallery openings in the week preceding (and throughout) the revered Santa Fe Indian Market. Native Art Week is the preeminent location to learn about, experience and collect indigenous art from the U.S. and Canada.

Native Art Week is an opportunity for the art community to combine efforts and let the world know that August in Santa Fe, NM is the best place to experience Native American art,” said Santa Fe Indian Market Executive Director, Ira Wilson.

Native Art Week began with conversations between the leadership of the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA), producers of the Santa Fe Indian Market and Antique American Indian Art Show Santa Fe producer Kim Martindale.  These conversations led to an initiative to bring together the efforts of Santa Fe’s many like-minded events and institutions to create more visible and exciting opportunities for Native American Art enthusiasts and the broader public in the week preceding (and throughout) Indian Market: August 13-19.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with SWAIA’s new executive director Ira Wilson and asking a few questions about Native Art Week:  


Audrey Rubenstein: The world of collecting and living Native American art do not often come together. How can these two market’s find common ground?

Ira Wilson: I feel that it can once it is fully accepted as what is really is… a piece of Native American history. Many times, a piece is worn simply for adornment or maybe for status. There is a story behind everything we create as Native artisans. When our story is respected it becomes a sacred thing, a bond between both artist, collector and our cultures.

AR: You testified in the hearing against Native American art fakes this year in Albuquerque.  Can you tell us about that experience?

IW: I have been in this industry a very long time. I have seen the influx of fake Native American art hit the market and directly affect Native artists. Many of whom I consider close friends and family. In all honesty, it felt good to be part of this history. It has been far too long that any person or persons have been held to the fire for cultural appropriation. When I testified, it felt like a great weight was lifted from my shoulders. I’m pro artist, I always will be.


AR: Why is authenticity important?

IW: When a person misrepresents a piece of art it effects not only Native vendors but all of us in the SW. Visitors to our state will maybe tell 10 friends they had a great experience buying Native art here in NM. If they have a bad experience and were misled believing something was authentic? They will tell everyone who will listen. This adversely affects the industry having both economic and cultural impact in our region. It is so very important to properly represent authentic Native art.  Our artists work hard to hold a standard and it’s a shame not all who sell Native art feel the same.

AR: Anything else you want to mention?

IW: When you purchase a piece of authentic Native art, take time to visit with the artist. Feel what they feel about the piece they’ve created. You’ll enjoy it more. I promise.

Europe in Springtime by Patrick Mestdagh
A look back at the recent Tribal shows in France and Belgium.

For a few years now, since a group of young and truly enthusiastic French “tribalmaniacs” decided to launch a tribal art show in the middle of nowhere, spring seems to be the perfect moment to visit Europe for those interested in tribal arts.

For its third edition, the Bourgogne Tribal Show opened the last weekend of May in Besanceuil. Don’t scratch your heads, and don’t open your atlases as I bet you have never heard of the place and you are certainly not to blame... moreover, you will not find it! Besanceuil is a tiny little village hidden in Southern Burgundy, you are starting to like the place, 15 miles away from Cluny.

What on earth made those frenetic organizers establish their new show there? We may never know, but some serious elements are visible. The idea came from a group of 5 well-known French dealers, and their friend Bruno Mory, gallerist and owner of the welcoming property hosting the show. The place is breathtaking, and the area is full of points of interest if you are keen on landscapes, architecture, ancient churches, unexpected museums, and good wine... and the best is to come! The center of the BTS is the garden, generously warmed by sunshine, offering local food and drinks to enjoy on colourful tables, most of the time accompanied by a jazz trio playing live!

The 25 exhibitors are challenged by the organizers in multiple ways. To start with, they will form pairs sharing a common dedicated space, mixing their objects, voluntarily limited to 30, another big challenge for most, in order to focus on quality first, and keep the entire presentation digestible for all. And finally, they will dedicate one piece for a curated exhibition in Cluny. Last year, the dealers were asked to write an essay on a subject they fancy, and the addition of those formed the extremely original 2017 catalogue, another great idea from the organizers.

Good news is it works! The pairs were effective for the mostpart. Some were very interesting, like Oceanics from Anthony Meyer responding to African’s masks from Bruce Floch, or Chiwaras from Claes Gallery facing a stunning selection of Indonesian masterpieces from Pascassio - Manfredi. In the main building, archeology was presented next to Papua New Guinea treasures, and on the upper floor, Adrian Schlag and Joaquin Pecci from Brussels were playing equal with an impressive selection of Asian sculptures from Michael Worner’s gallery.

Visitors were impressed - Quai Branly Museum was in the countryside for a week. Certainly, the casual attitude, the stress-of-the-city far away, and the selections made by the exhibitors pushed this event in the right direction. President of Honor, Jean Roudillon congratulated everyone, insisting on the importance and the engagement of the dealers, in a moment where auctions houses are sometimes proposing exaggerated parallelisms, where they should focus on quality.

Visitors were in numbers and it seems most of the exhibitors were satisfied with the unusual and unexpected experience.

Only two weeks later was the opening of the 28th edition of BRUNEAF, the Brussels based non-European art fair, recently joined by Asian Art in Brussels, and Brussels Antiques Art Fair under the generic and smart name of CULTURES. In total, it represents nearly 100 galleries taking part.

For those travelling from far away, remember Europe is easy to travel around, full of museums like Quai Branly, the British Museum and soon to be reopened Musée de Tervueren of Belgium. Plenty of time to travel to cities like Cologne, Barcelona, Vienna, Roma or Berlin, and for the tennis addicted, Grand Slam Roland-Garros is on that fortnight...

Back to Brussels, the first of all art festival of its kind where visitors go from one gallery to another, hunting for treasures and rarities. A perfect way to admire the Sablon district, one of the nicest in the city, less than a mile away from the famous Grand-Place.

2018 was the occasion for Bruneaf to welcome a new board, and if there was no exhibition this year, other surprises were awaiting visitors. An interesting program of lectures by speakers from CULTURES, a selection of new international exhibitors and a convenient shuttle service to reach dealers installed a step too far from the Sablon...

Visitors from all over the world seemed enthusiastic about what they saw, and reactions from dealers were going in the same direction. Most of them made great efforts to show their best sides, some dedicating the moment to thematic shows, like Jo de Buck presenting “the Legacy of Rick Elias”, Pierre Loos presenting an impressive group of paintings by Congolese artist Bela or Galerie Deletaille showing an interesting mix in the exhibition “Objects of Intention”.

Clearly, efforts were made by most of the exhibitors in order to be as attractive as possible, and it paid off. It brought together the energetic Joaquin Pecci, a group of 5 international dealers with Bruce Frank from New York, made an amazing effort in La Nonciature to present tribal arts the best way, while Renaud Riley was opening its new space with a dialog between objects and the artist Gonçalo Mabunda.

So, for those who could not make it last spring, keep Europe in mind for next year if you want to encounter some amazing experiences and great art from non-European civilizations.

Legal Briefs by Ron McCoy
NAGPRA Repatriation Updates

This edition of the column brings us up to date on summarizing the notices, which appear irregularly in the Federal Register, announcing institutions’ intent to repatriate pieces classified under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990 (NAGPRA) as sacred objects and/or objects of cultural patrimony. 

These notices, however dry and formulaic, are important for the tribal art world and its dealers, collectors, and curators.  For brevity’s sake, details in the notices as published are often excluded from them as summarized here.  I encourage you to check out a notice in detail in the Federal Register if a certain type of item, or the circumstances associated with its repatriation, set your antennae twitching for any reason.  This is because one may occasionally discern important clues about directions this law’s implementation is taking.  For example, it should be clear to readers of these notices that certain types of objects – Haudenosaunee wampum belts and False Face masks, for example – automatically find places in NAGPRA repatriation categories.  It is also seems that standards of proof used for determining a piece’s use and status, often exemplary, sometimes appear to be wedded to a degree of elasticity that makes more than a few folks downright uneasy.  I have in mind the third notice summarized here, one that focuses on a headdress for which no evidence at all supporting its classification as an object of cultural patrimony under NAGPRA is provided.   

These notices represent determinations made by tribal claimants and what NAGPRA loosely defines as museums concerning the physical disposition of items, pending the filing of a competing claim.  All quotes come from those notices.


Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) Drum and Drumstick
Sacred Objects and Objects of Cultural Patrimony

Berkshire Museum, Pittsfield, MA (July 12, 2018):  In 1903 the museum acquired a “Big Drum,” or “Manidoo Deweʹigan” (“Spirit Drum”), which came from north-central Minnesota’s White Earth Reservation, home of the Anishinaabe.  Drums such as this “are central to the White Earth people as a whole and could never have been alienated, appropriated, or conveyed by any individual regardless of whether or not the individual was a member of the tribe.”[1]  The museum agreed the drum and its accompanying drumstick are sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony belonging to the White Earth Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.

Wiyot Headdresses and Headdress Roll
Sacred Objects/Objects of Cultural Patrimony
Wiyot Flower (Coming of Age) Ceremony Dress
Sacred Object

Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA (May 21, 2018): Donations to the museum in 1908 included “an elk antler ornament headdress,[2] a red woodpecker headdress,[3] and a roll for the red woodpecker headdress”[4] which originated with the Wiyot people of northern California’s Humboldt Bay.  It was agreed these are sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony needed for performing “dances and prayers for the World Renewal Ceremonies, including the White Deerskin Dance and the Jump Dance.”

The notice identifies a fourth Wiyot piece, which it received in 1910, as a sacred object: a tanned leather dance skirt[5] associated with the Flower, or Coming of Age, Ceremony.[6]

The museum agreed to transfer the four items to the Bear River Band of Rohnerville Rancheria, Blue Lake Rancheria, and Wiyot Tribe, all in California.

Comanche Eagle Feather Headdress
Object of Cultural Patrimony

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Law Enforcement, Albuquerque, NM (April 4, 2018): In 2016, “a bison headdress with glass beading and eagle tail feathers” was “removed from a residence” in northwestern New Mexico, part of a collection of objects surrendered to federal agents.  The headdress was identified as Comanche “based on the type of beading, which compares with historic photos of beaded headdresses provided by the Comanche Nation.”  The notice does not explain how the government determined this is an object of cultural patrimony. 

Wiyot “Doctor’s Feathers”
Sacred Objects

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL (Feb.22, 2018): In 1900, the museum obtained “a set of ‘doctor’s feathers’” in northern California’s Humboldt Bay country “from a Wiyot man maned Dick, whose father had been a doctor.”  The set includes “seven bundles of condor feathers, which have had their edges trimmed,” some including “smaller feathers, such as those from a northern flicker, and abalone shells.”  These feathers “would have been used by a doctor in either a healing ceremony or as part of a religious ceremony, including the World Renewal Ceremony.”   The museum decided the feathers belong with California’s Wiyot tribe.

Odawa (Ottawa) Water Drum
Sacred Object

New York State Museum, Albany, NY (Feb. 22, 2018):  In 1956, the museum purchased a drum obtained from an Odawa man living in the upper part of Michigan’s lower peninsula.  Tribal religious leaders identified it as a “Grandfather Drum used by the Midewiwin medicine society” necessary for properly conducting religious observances.  The drum was scheduled for repatriation to the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians in Michigan.

San Felipe Water Drum and Earthenware
Sacred Objects/Objects of Cultural Patrimony

Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, South Hadley, MA (Feb. 22, 2018): Three earthenware vessels and a wood-and-hide drum with poor provenance came to the museum between the late-19th and early-20th centuries.  Representatives from the Pueblo of San Felipe in New Mexico identified these as sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony.  “Based on National NAGPRA definitions of sacred objects and objects of sacred patrimony and a general knowledge of these objects incorporating sacred imagery and being used in various types of ceremonies and/or funerary contexts,” the museum declared, “the claim for repatriation…has merit.” 

Osage “Medicine Man’s Bundle”
Objects of Cultural Patrimony

Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids, MI (Jan. 30, 2018): At some time, from somewhere in southern Missouri or Arkansas, the contents of a “Medicine Man’s Bundle” –including human and animal teeth, river stones, shell fragments, an antler, partial projectile point, and lead bullet – made their way to the museum through a bequest.  The institution’s records indicate the bundle’s constituent pieces were “bought from a dealer with the understanding they were from an archeological excavation conducted prior to 1965.”  (The National Historic Preservation Act, which embraces archeological sites, took effect the following year.)

Ultimately, the “determination of Osage cultural affiliation is based on museum records, consultation, geographic location, and archeological information.”  Because “the content of Osage bundles were and are of ongoing cultural importance to the Osage Nation,” they “cannot be alienated by any single individual, and require protection and extremely limited exposure.”  Accordingly, the museum agreed to give the material to The Osage Nation in Oklahoma.

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Wampum Belt
Object of Cultural Patrimony

Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, MA (Dec. 6, 2018):  This notice concerns a wampum belt with literally zero provenance which tribal representatives identified as Haudenosaunee.  The museum agreed to transfer it to the designated Wampum Keeper of the Haudenosaunee: the Onondaga Nation in New York.

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) False Face, Cornhusk, and Other Masks
Sacred Objects

New York State Museum, Albany, NY (Nov. 8, 2017):  This summary conflates four notices published on the same day concerning the repatriation of fifty-eight Haudenosaunee masks which entered the museum’s collections between 1850 and 2008.  Some were donated, others purchased –one from pioneering ethnologist Lewis Henry Morgan in 1850 – and many arrived through the labors of its own legendary Arthur C. Parker, including one “obtained from an individual on the Tonawanda Seneca Reservation who ceremonially passed the object and its inhabiting spirit on to Parker’s care.” 

The museum accepted tribal representatives’ characterization of these pieces as sacred objects, and agreed to transfer them to, variously, the Onondaga Nation, Seneca Nation of Indians, and the Tonawanda Band of Seneca Indians, all in New York.  

Navajo Jish and Related Materials
Sacred Objects

Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX (Nov. 8, 2017):  In 2004 the museum was given “4 pahoes, 1 bandolier bag, and 3 jish [medicine bundles] and their contents,” which a donor obtained between 1985-1987 from two Santa Fe galleries.  Tribal representatives pointed out jish “are still in ceremonial use by the Navajo today” and “can be possessed only by someone with proper ceremonial knowledge.” The museum agreed to effect a repatriation of these objects to the Navajo Nation of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.

Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Chippewa) Drum and Drumstick
Sacred Objects and Objects of Cultural Patrimony

Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN (Aug. 30, 2017): In 1958 the museum obtained a drum and drumstick acquired from members of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa tribe.  Museum representatives met with “[e]lders, spiritual advisors, and five drum-keepers from the Bois Forte Band…and each in turn explained the spiritual and sacred importance of drums both to the Ojibwe in general, and to the Bois Forte Band in particular.”  Specifically, “drums are treated as living beings, and are cared for by a drum-keeper as long as that drum-keeper is able.  If the drum-keeper can no longer care for a drum, it is passed on to another drum-keeper.”[8]

The museum agreed “the drum and drumstick should never have been sold, and should be returned” to the Bis Forte Band (Nett Lake) of the Chippewa Tribe in Minnesota.

Wiyot Dance Skirt
Sacred Object and Object of Cultural Patrimony

Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (Aug. 28, 2017): In 1905 the museum bought a Wiyot dance skirt “made of deer hide and adorned with abalone shell, clam shell, copper, bear grass, maidenhair fern, iris fibers, and glass beads” from a non-Indian northern California merchant.  The skirt, originally labeled “Hupa” and now identified as Wiyot,[9] is a “ceremonial garment worn by Wiyot women during the Brush Dance, which is held during the annual World Renewal Ceremony in winter or early spring.”  Wiyot representatives classified it as a “sacred, and an inalienable ceremonial object, which was obtained without the consent of an appropriate Wiyot authority….[The seller] was not the rightful owner of the garment because Wiyot law prohibits the sale of ceremonial objects.”[10]  The museum agreed the dance skirt belonged with the Wiyot Tribe of California.

Please note: This column does not offer legal or financial advice. Anyone who needs such advice should consult a professional. The author welcomes readers’ comments and suggestions, which may be sent to him at


[1] For drums among the Anishinaabe see Thomas Vennum, Jr., “The Ojibwe Dance Drum: Its History and Construction,” Smithsonian Folklife Studies Number 2 (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1982).

[2] “The antler ornament headdress is constructed of leather, suede, and seven carved antler ornaments; red and black paints were applied to sections of the leather and to the antler ornaments.”

[3] “The red woodpecker headdress is constructed from tanned deerhide and approximately 40 scalps of pileated woodpecker.”

[4] The red woodpecker headdress’ storage roll is “constructed of a worked and polished cylindrical piece of wood, likely redwood….[It] was required for the safe storage of the headdress and should be considered a part of the medicine associated with the headdress.”

[5] The dress “is fringed at the bottom hem. A solitary shell object of modified abalone is fastened to a leather strand within the fringe. Another leather strand within the fringe is adorned with three blue glass beads and one long black glass bead. The waist of the skirt is decorated with maidenhair fern and beargrass wraps, as well as iris twine. Dangling from the edge of the twine-wrapped waist are thin twine-wrapped strands adorned with two small bivalve shells and finished with metal thimbles; some strands also contain blue glass beads.”

[6] According to the notice: “Families spent years gathering the materials for a girl's ‘First Dress,’ which was worn initially at her Coming of Age Ceremony. Based on the size of this skirt, and the effort invested in its ornamentation, as well as the location of decoration at the waist, it was likely made as a ceremonial dance skirt for a girl's puberty rites. As abalone is associated with women's blood, the single cut and polished abalone shell bead fastened within the fringe at the skirt's bottom hem further supports the attribution of this skirt to the Coming of Age Ceremony.” 

[7] Tribal representatives declared all of the pieces sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony, but the notice addresses only the former claim. 

[8] According to the notice, “Supernatural beings bestow the honor and duty of caring for a drum through dream and visions.  Ceremonial songs and dances associated with drums are similarly revealed….[T]he investiture and traditional religious practices of drum-keepers, and the drums used in such practices as central to Ojibwe religion and the Bois Forte Band.  Drums made by this community belong to the community, and are not the property of drum-keepers or any other custodian.”           

[9] “The skirt is identified as Wiyot based upon its physical appearance and construction. It is made of deer hide and adorned with abalone shell, clam shell, copper, bear grass, maidenhair fern, iris fibers, and glass beads. While most abalone shell is a dull grey or white on the outside, the cut shell pieces on the Brooklyn Museum skirt are red, which means that they are from red abalone, an identification that relates to the Wiyot story of Abalone Woman, whose drops of blood created the red-shelled abalone. The story explains why red abalone is only found along the shores of Wiyot territory, and therefore is used in the making of Wiyot regalia.”

[10] “The circumstances in which sacred and ceremonial objects were separated from the Wiyot people can be explained by their history. In 1860, Wiyot life in their traditional homeland was violently interrupted by the nighttime massacre of as many as 250 women, children and elders, probably by gold prospectors. The massacre resulted in survivors fleeing Wiyot territory and ultimately seeking protection among their Hupa and Yurok neighbors. During a lengthy period when the Wiyot were refugees, ceremonial life was curtailed. In 1981, the Wiyot Tribe received federal recognition and, in 1991, they were moved to the Table Bluff Reservation. Slowly they have been buying back lands that were originally part of their traditional territory. Today the Wiyot Tribe has approximately 650 enrolled members. It has a language revitalization program, and an active repatriation program to bring cultural heritage objects back home. In 2014, after the industrial contamination of their sacred site on Indian Island was cleaned up, the Wiyot held their first World Renewal Ceremonial in over 150 years.”

Legal Committee Report
STOP Act, Money Laundering, Tariffs and more...

Important Note: ATADA cannot answer member’s legal questions, and nothing in this article or on the ATADA website constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should contact your attorney for advice.

The busy show season is a time for ATADA members to be especially alert to legal issues. Please help others to be aware the legal rules and ethical guidelines that make for a responsible art market.

The pertinent ATADA Bylaws state as follows:

  • The Members of ATADA undertake not to purchase or sell objects until they have established to the best of their ability that such objects were not stolen from excavations, architectural monuments, public institutions, tribal communities, or private property.

  • ATADA shall work respectfully with tribal communities regarding the voluntary return of legally collected items to the tribes. ATADA supports the voluntary return of items known to be of important current, sacred, communal use to the Native American tribal communities from which they came, through the ATADA Voluntary Returns Program and other voluntary projects.

  • The Members of ATADA undertake not to acquire, display, or sell items known to be of important current sacred, communal use to Native American tribal communities. The ATADA Board shall establish guidelines with respect to specific items deemed of important current sacred, communal status and make those guidelines available to all ATADA members.

  • ATADA does not regard items made for commercial or individual use by Native American artisans as sacred or ceremonial, regardless of age.

See the ATADA Guidelines Regarding the Trade in Sacred Communal Items of Cultural Patrimony.


Why did ATADA establish internal guidelines? First, it’s the right thing to do. Second, responsible business behavior makes for a safer, more secure marketplace, and gives consumers the confidence they need to invest. Checking the provenance of objects and asking for their ownership history – in writing - is good business practice and the key to due diligence. No one, collector or dealer, wants to potentially spend years of their lives and hundreds of thousands of dollars defending themselves against a charge of trading in a dodgy object – simply because they did not take the time to investigate it.

The ATADA legal team is proud of its accomplishments. If ATADA was not working hard to protect your interests in Washington, then US Customs could today be asking every foreign tourist coming home from vacation to prove that their Indian art purchases weren’t sacred items. US museums would be worrying that there was a new, completely open-ended ‘standard’ for tribal claims outside of NAGPRA.

We wish we could be spending our energies urging the House and Senate to take positive steps for tribes by funding cultural education, building awareness (and building tribal Chapter Houses for the safety and preservation of ceremonial artifacts). These are positive solutions – and we make that case with legislators each time we meet. Unfortunately, those sensible goals require funding from an unwilling Congress. Instead, we’ve had to fight back against ill-considered legislation that will negatively impact the art trade, damage a vital industry that is key to the Southwestern tourist economy, and harm cultural life as a whole in the United States. Here are some of the pending bills and agreements that affect art collecting and the trade:


  • STOP

In May, the ATADA board met in Washington DC in order to meet with legislators to discuss the impact of the 2017-2018 Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony Act (STOP), S. 1400 and H.R.3211. ATADA has outlined the bill’s flaws many times, through testimony and direct contacts with legislators –how it discourages all trade in Indian art, harming artisans and local economies, will destroy value in legally-owned private property, and has a built-in lack of due process that makes it illegal to export objects without identifying what those objects are, and places the burden of proof on individuals to show objects are lawfully traded.

Board members Bob Gallegos, Kim Martindale and John Molloy met with eight legislative offices in person in order to bring home their objections to the STOP Act. They also raised museums’ concerns that STOP would undermine museum protections under NAGPRA. New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce personally discussed innovative alternatives to STOP with the ATADA board members.

ATADA remains convinced that the best way forward is to work with legislators, tribal communities, collectors, art dealers and auction houses to find alternatives to STOP that will permit continued commerce in legal items not subject to ARPA or NAGPRA. 

Almost all of the legislative staff were responsive. All expressed appreciation for ATADA’s landmark Voluntary Returns Program, which has turned out to be more effective than any federal enforcement actions. ATADA remains focused on bringing realistic, practical solutions to the table, rather than having a politically expedient but unworkable solution forced on collectors and the trade. However, the future of STOP may have more to do with how November elections shift power in Washington than on finding a positive way forward for all constituencies.

ATADA will continue its campaign to raise awareness in Washington of the dangers of STOP, and to inform and educate the public. In June, ATADA Board Member Kim Martindale coordinated bringing letters to legislators from six owners of major Indian shows opposing STOP. Keeping your Senators and Representatives informed is essential!



An anti-money laundering bill now in the U.S. Senate is specifically directed at the art trade. Congressman Luke Messer of Indiana says that HR 5886 is intended to “reduce international money laundering and crack down on terrorist organizations like ISIS.” Never mind that there is no evidence that a single artwork sold in the US has had any connection with terrorist activity.

HR 5886 would apply the Bank Secrecy Act to dealers in art and antiquities. Regulation could require U.S. art and antique dealers with as little as $50,000 in annual purchases/sales to report transactions to the Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), to collect personal information from clients, and comply with a variety of burdensome regulations.

Art businesses subject to FinCen anti-money laundering (AML) requirements would be required to establish an AML Program and:

  • File IRS/FinCEN Form 8300, Form TD F 90-22.13, and Form 105 to establish an AML program.

  • Appoint a Compliance Officer for their business responsible for meeting FinCen AML regulations and rules

  • Provide ongoing AML training for employees

  • Pay for independent testing to monitor AML program and compliance

  • File suspicious activity reports (SARS)

If a business is non-compliant, the consequences could include closure of the business’ bank accounts and even imprisonment.

The regulations for the art industry are not specified in the bill, but a release from Congressman Messer’s office suggests that they will be similar to those applied to the category of dealers in precious metals, stones, and jewels.

ATADA has joined other arts organizations, including CINOA, the largest global art and antiques trade association, in opposing HR 5886.  ATADA has submitted written comment to the House Financial Services Committee contesting the addition of art dealers to FinCEN requirements.

For more, see: Letter from ATADA to Chairman Hensarling, Financial Services Committee, U.S. House of Representatives 

Also see: Update: Art Trade Reacts to Threatened Bank Secrecy Act



One of the more bizarre episodes in the recent pursuit of tariffs is a plan to impose duties on Chinese antique art and artifacts. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is reviewing proposed tariffs on “Collections and collectors’ pieces of zoological, botanical, mineralogical, anatomical, historical, archaeological etc. interest” under HTS Heading 1905, and under HTS Heading 9706, “Antiques of an age exceeding one hundred years.”

One thing that makes this proposal strange is that tariffs on antiques will not punish China. They will actually enable the Chinese government to strengthen China’s near monopoly on Chinese antique and ancient art. The proposed tariff on Chinese art only punishes U.S. collectors, art businesses, and art museums – not the Chinese government. Ten years ago, the Chinese government asked the U.S. to impose import restrictions on art and antiques up to 1912. This request was granted, but only for art up through the Tang period. China has since used these U.S. restrictions to build its art business into the largest in the world, and to expand its domestic market in the same antiquities that currently cannot be imported from China into the U.S.

Placing tariffs on art, antiques, and other cultural materials would also be a major trade policy change for the United States. Almost 90 years ago, Congress exempted antiquities and art objects made before 1830 from duty in order to encourage the free flow of artistic and cultural materials into the U.S. under the U.S. Tariff Act of 1930. A 1966 law confirmed the antiques exemption and added as exempt ethnographic items that were 50 years old or older. Ever since then, books, art, collectibles, and antiquities have entered the U.S. duty free. The proposed China tariff would change that U.S. cultural policy for the first time. 

For more, see: Proposed Tariffs on Chinese Art Will Expand China’s Monopoly



In May 2018, the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee heard testimony on the renewal of the U.S.-China Memorandum of Understanding mentioned above. It also considered a new agreement on cultural property with Ecuador.

On July 31, 2018, the Cultural Property Advisory Committee (CPAC) at the Department of State will review two more proposed renewals of agreements to bar entry to the U.S. of “cultural property” from Bulgaria and Honduras. CPAC will also review a new request from the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria. The objects proposed to be barred from import from these three countries are comprehensive. The import restrictions cover a period extending over 9000 years, and include everything from coins to manuscripts, beads and even common tools such as “axes, hoes, picks, and harpoons.”

Right now, there are 20 foreign countries whose art and artifacts are subject to comprehensive blockades. Belize Bolivia Bulgaria Cambodia China Colombia Cyprus EgyptEl Salvador GreeceGuatemala Honduras Italy LibyaMali Nicaragua , and Peru have bilateral agreements that once implemented, have been renewed again and again every 5 years, so that some, such as El Salvador, have been in place for over 30 years. Iraq (2008) and  Syria (2016) are currently subject to legislative “emergency actions.” (Mexico is covered in another longstanding treaty.)

Proceedings at CPAC are extremely secret. Months after a CPAC review, the American public and US art dealers, auction houses, and museums will learn what the import restrictions will be, through publication in the Federal Register. The restrictions will be effective from that day of first publication for 5 years. Based on the past record of the CPAC and its State Department administrators, the restrictions on artifacts from every country are likely to be extremely broad and renewed every five years through the foreseeable future.

ATADA condemns looting of any kind, from any country, but it does not support overbroad restrictions on the legitimate trade. Blanket restrictions on art from entire regions harm the U.S. public interest while doing nothing to preserve sites. ATADA has stood up for U.S. citizens’ access to art from around the world, and against agreements with source countries that don’t protect their own artifacts.

ATADA is particularly concerned about U.S. support for foreign governments’ absolute control of the cultural heritage of minority peoples and indigenous populations. ATADA is working to alert Congress to abusive U.S. agreements that have given control over the historical records and tangible heritage of exiled Jewish and Christian communities to oppressive regimes in Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt; it has objected to Middle Eastern governments’ claims to all of nomadic Saharan Tuareg and Berber artifacts. ATADA has also demanded that the U.S. cancel cultural property agreements with China, based on its destruction of Tibetan and Uyghur religious sites and monuments.

See: ATADA’s testimony on Algeria. 

See also:
CPAC – building a Wall Against Art

Will U.S. Embargo on Art of China and Tibet Be Renewed?



Several ATADA legal committee members have been working with European art dealer organizations and art fairs to combat misinformation that has triggered pending European Commission legislation. These pending EU regulations would restrict import and export of items over 250 years of age by requiring either (1) documentation of lawful export from a source country or second country in which the object has been for a lengthy period (the majority of countries have no such permitting regimes) or (2) a sworn affidavit from the exporter that an item was legally exported. The requirements would depend upon the type of object being imported or exported; antique books and ‘archaeological’ materials are among the items for which proof of legal export would be required. A major problem is that an importer might have no way to know if an item was legally exported, since most cultural items have been in circulation for decades among multiple owners.

Market representatives have presented independently-verified evidence showing that the assumptions on which the proposed EU regulations are premised are wrong. The cost and delay caused by the regulations could seriously damage legitimate art and antique markets, which contribute about €17.5 billion to the EU economy, and provide employment for over 350,000. The six-month delay for import license approval for artworks would keep foreign dealers from attending EU art fairs.

The European Commission’s premise for requiring new regulations was the claim that there was a massive, multi-million euro (or even multi-billion euro) trade in illicit antiquities from the war zones of the Middle East. However, the most recent World Customs Organization’s latest Illicit Trade Report (2016) shows no seizures at all in Western Europe (other than Switzerland) of any looted cultural property associated with the Middle East.

The ATADA Legal Committee greatly appreciates input from members on all these legislative and policy concerns. You can reach the committee at any time using the email form below. 

Important Note: ATADA cannot answer member’s legal questions, and nothing in this article or on the ATADA website constitutes legal advice. If you have a legal question, you should contact your attorney for advice.


No Free Appraisals by Vanessa Elmore
July-August 2018

Disclaimer: This column is not intended to provide any type of formal education or legal advice: please consult with an established professional appraiser, appraiser’s association, or the appropriate lawyer, for professional advice and guidance regarding your particular situation.

Let me begin by expressing a sincere, public expression of gratitude to Scott Hale for sharing generously of his time and expertise for this column as well as for other meaningful contributions he has made toward ATADA projects. He is putting words into action by educating collectors about ATADA’s Voluntary Returns Initiative and actively recruiting willing participants.  Thank you, Scott, for the momentum you have provided to ATADA on many fronts.

In the last installment of No Free Appraisals, Scott spelled out very clearly the newest 2018 requirements for all those calling themselves appraisers. He was also kind enough to share tangible paths for those wanting to “up their game” and emphasized that appraisal-specific education is something that simply cannot be avoided any longer (no matter how long you’ve been buying and selling art). So, the take-away is: unless you have appraisal education under your belt and meet all the newly enumerated requirements, don’t call your valuation services as “appraisals.” Easy enough. Together, Scott and I probably sound like an echo chamber! We really don’t mean to belabor some of these points--really, we don’t. We harp because we ultimately want to increase ATADA’s overall professional public profile.

Our organization is leading the way within our private industry and a nod to the recently amended ATADA by-laws acknowledges that we, as a group of professionals, are interested in providing collectors with a market environment that is ethical and transparent, based on high levels of customer service and documentary support for acquisitions. Appraisals are important documents in themselves: as self-contained documents, an appraisal reports are inherently different than other valuation services and they are capable of standing alone.

Be assured, Scott and I are no straw men: we hold ourselves out to be professional appraisers and because of that, we invest both money and time on a yearly basis toward appraisal-specific education. (As a note, most professional member-based appraisal organizations have higher qualifications for their membership than the minimum standards put forth by USPAP.)

For example, I just completed the 2018-2019 USPAP class, which is a 7-hour long class meant to update appraisers on rules changes or new interpretations of present appraisal practice directives. Every two years, USPAP provides nuanced revisions to definitions or rules, and these changes are generally meant to clarify or streamline the language everyone is supposed to be using in an appraisal report. In this most current cycle, all of the recommendations coming down from The Appraisal Foundation (the U.S. Congress-appointed governing body for the appraiser industry) through USPAP boil down to an increasing need to provide transparency on the part of the appraiser to the general public.

Transparency is a buzz-word these days and the appraisal industry as a whole is well within the target scope. The Appraisal Foundation, and the guidelines provided by USPAP, aim to separate an appraisal report from all other valuation services provided by non-appraisers because they see potential conflicts of interest that might lead to inherent bias (like appraising an artwork you have sold in the past). Most importantly, they see such inherent biases can otherwise preclude objective appraisal reports and lest we forget, the primary purpose of USPAP is to provide public trust in the appraisal process: it is a means of accountability.

This is all similar to and certainly in line with ATADA’s bylaws requiring member dealers to provide the most accurate information they can and to guarantee the authenticity of the objects they sell to collectors. In other words, ATADA’s bylaws are in place as a matter of public trust for the Tribal and American Indian arts markets. The parallels of intent between USPAP and ATADA’s bylaws are obvious and certainly supportive of one another.

Be assured, too, that while Scott and I circulate in our appraiser community, we regularly refer appraiser colleagues (especially the generalists and non-tribal arts specialists) to the ATADA bylaws and direct them toward our ATADA membership as reputable sources for artwork and expertise. At a recent annual conference for the International Society of Appraisers (ISA), I was given the incredible opportunity to present about the proposed STOP legislation. It felt good to be able to say that the ATADA bylaws are a great indicator of how the ethics of collecting are changing and that requirements of the business of buying and selling on a daily basis is also adapting in turn. I spoke about how the proposed STOP legislation might affect daily routines of buying, selling, and appraising artworks.

I also took the opportunity to publicize the ATADA Voluntary Returns Initiative because I couldn’t pass up the chance to plant seeds in the minds of a room full of appraisers, all of whom look at thousands of objects and meet new collectors every day from all around the world. I addressed how qualified appraisers would play important roles in the Voluntary Returns process, especially if and when such return procedures become sanctioned through the IRS. I thought it important for these collector-consultants to know at a minimum that there is another new path available to collectors who may find themselves as unwitting owners of potentially sacred or ceremonial items. Even if one person calls up an ATADA member inquiring about an artwork or their knowledge, or even if one appraiser turns up a lead for the Voluntary Returns Initiative, then it will have been worth it. Thankfully, that already happened on both counts—who doesn’t love an immediate return on an investment!

Directory Updates / New Members

New Full Members

Charles Moreau Gallery
Charles Moreau
New York, NY

John Molloy
Michael Hamson

Turquoise & Tufa
Bonnie McClung
Santa Fe, NM

Robert Gallegos
Joan Caballero

Turquoise Direct
Joshua Chaney
Rio Rancho, NM

Gene Waddell
Steve Begner

New Associate Members

Marie Auger

Donald Wood

Dennis Arbeiter

Robert Sissman




ATADA News Summer 2018

Cover Image:
Hopi Salako Mana
Height: 14 ¾ in. (37.5 cm)
Courtesy Galerie Flak, Paris – © Photo : D. Voirin

Editor: Paul Elmore
Design/Production: David Ezziddine
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