November 16, 2017

New ReasonTV video showcasing our American Indian art case

By Caleb R. Trotter Attorney

Yesterday, ReasonTV released a new video that showcases our client Peggy Fontenot and her case against the Attorney General of Oklahoma. If you’ll recall, last year, Oklahoma enacted a new law that limits who may market art as American Indian-made. Now, only those artists who are members of federally recognized tribes may do so. But Peggy is a member of a Virginia-recognized tribe, the Patawomeck, and she has been a successful and award-winning artist for over 30 years—even having her work displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. Peggy seeks to have Oklahoma’s restrictive law declared unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as the Commerce and Supremacy clauses of the U.S. Constitution.

As we previously noted, we recently filed our motion for summary judgment in the federal district court in Oklahoma City, and this week we filed our response to the Attorney General’s own motion for summary judgment.

Watch the video here:

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Fontenot v. Hunter, Attorney General of Oklahoma

Peggy Fontenot is an award-winning American Indian photographer and artist, specializing in hand-made beaded jewelry and cultural items. A member of Virginia’s Patawomeck tribe, she has made her living for 30 years traveling the country to show and sell her American Indian art. She regularly participated in Oklahoma art festivals until local, politically-connected tribes convinced the state legislature to restrict the definition of “Indian tribe” to include only those tribes recognized by the federal government. The restriction was ostensibly to prevent the marketing and sale of art fraudulently described as “American Indian-made.” However, as a result of this law, Ms. Fontenot – a legitimate member of a state-recognized tribe – may no longer truthfully describe her art as “American Indian-made” in the state of Oklahoma.

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