NASAA Notes: January 2017


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January 11, 2017

Alaska: Resolution Protecting Native Artists from State Ivory Bans

The Alaska State Council on the Arts (ASCA) recently adopted a resolution advocating that all domestic ivory bans exclude the legal use of domestic ivory by Alaska Native artists. The resolution is a response to new laws in California and New Jersey and pending legislation in several other states that, as ASCA chairman Ben Brown explains in an op-ed piece, threaten the Alaska Native cultural tradition of creating tools, jewelry and artwork from walrus, narwhale, mammoth and mastodon ivory. These policies prohibit the sale, use or possession of ivory, but fail to distinguish between legal domestic ivory and ivory that comes from illegal poaching of African elephants. On their own, the policies could negatively impact the livelihood of Alaska Native artists. ASCA’s resolution calls on the state’s congressional delegation to ensure that the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act—which explicitly allows Alaska Natives to create and sell art from the ivory of marine mammals they hunt for subsistence—supersedes existing and future state ivory bans. The resolution complements the various initiatives of ASCA’s Traditional Native Arts Program and its goal of advancing the creative endeavors of Alaska Native artists. Find out more from ASCA Executive Director Andrea Noble-Pelant.

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State to State

Legislative Update

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