[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Ray Saintonge saintonge at telus.net
Tue May 15 23:48:27 UTC 2007

Fred Bauder wrote:

>>-----Original Message-----
>>From: Ilario Valdelli [mailto:valdelli at gmail.com]
>>Sorry... I don't understand this thread.
>>I live in Europe. This thread is concerning the foundation... I don't 
>>understand Indians... tribes... I don't understand.
>>Is this the correct ML?
>He's raised a legitimate question. An problem could occur in rare circumstances. For example we could permit an article about a "Navajo" rug weaver who makes great rugs, but is simply not a Navajo. People could view her beautiful rugs and rely on our article and lay out thousands of dollars. Whether we would actually be liable is questionable, but both genuine Navajo weavers and purchasers of fake rugs would have a legitimate grievance. One assumes these things would get caught, but considering the case of Ward Churchill, perhaps not. Being in Europe would not change this, one rug is genuine, the other not and they have value which reflects their status,
So when did we become rug merchants?  Assuming that that weaver passed 
the usual verifiability standards there's no reason for us to do the 
original research to establish  whether she really is Navajo.  I at 
least assume that her patterns are consistent with traditional Navajo 
patterns.  If someone is putting out thousands for this kind of thing it 
comes down to a question of "buyer beware".  We agree with teachers who 
tell their students not to rely on Wikipedia as a sole source of 
information.  Why should rug buyers be treated any differently.

A blurb I saw a couple of years ago in "Utne Reader" spoke of a painting 
that was bought for $5.00 in a flea market.  It bore a remarkable 
similarity to a typical Jackson Pollock painting, but was unsigned.  A 
genuine Pollock would sell for more than $5.00.  If a person pays big 
money to buy such a painting on speculation they need to accept the 
risks instead of trying to blame someone else for their own stupidity.


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