[Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy

Fred Bauder fredbaud at waterwiki.info
Wed May 16 01:27:49 UTC 2007

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Ray Saintonge [mailto:saintonge at telus.net]
>Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2007 05:48 PM
>To: 'Wikimedia Foundation Mailing List'
>Subject: Re: [Foundation-l] Native American Tribes Policy
>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.

That painting is an excellent example. In fact, it is so well known that we could probably have an article in Wikipedia about it. There is evidence, aside from its appearance, that it is genuine; there is a fingerprint on the back of the painting which matches a fingerprint on a paint can in Jackson Pollock's studio (It is preserved as a museum). It is considered an inferior painting, when compared to his famous paintings, so inferior that some experts doubt it is even a Pollack, but he is known to have discarded paintings he considered failures. However, the painting lacks provenance, a connection between Pollack and its current owner. The owner is holding out for a unrealistic price, but there have been substantial offers made to her. Our article would contain such information (I got it from 60 Minutes) and not attempt to market the painting, simply treating it as the curiosity it is.

Any article about a person or group whose status as Indian is questioned should contain analogous information.

If you Google "southern cherokee" you get a website:





Is it real or not? It sounds good, the names of the founders are real, but does all that stuff follow?


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