Native art authentication program gets teeth

Anchorage, Alaska (AP) 4-08

The Silver Hand program now has some teeth.

The program was begun in 1961 to authenticate Alaska Native art. Handicrafts that are authentic are awarded a silver hand symbol.

Now, civil penalties will be levied for those that misuse the Silver Hand symbol under a bill passed this week and awaiting the governorÂ’s signature.

The bill was crafted by a task force of Alaska Native artists and the Alaska State Council on the Arts.

Sen. Gary Stevens of Kodiak says he sponsored the bill in the Senate to protect consumers from buying jade bears from China.