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American Indian groups protest shop

Two American Indian groups have filed complaints against a white shop owner they charge is selling fake Indian crafts mass-produced in Asia.

The American Indian Movement of Florida and the Florida Indian Alliance also voiced anger over two life-size mannequins dressed as American Indians outside the shop.

The dummies are demeaning to Indians, they say.

About 15 people protested this weekend outside the Tepee Town gift shop, charging owner Fred Harris is violating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by billing the artwork as "Native."

Under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, dealers of Indian-made art in the United States must have documented proof that the products were made by American Indians.

"It's demeaning to Indian people, and you know it when you see it," Sheridan Murphy, executive director of the American Indian Movement of Florida, said during Saturday's protest.

Harris, who has operated the store for 21 years, said he does not mislead customers and does not portray all the products on his shelves as the work of Americans Indians.

All crafts on sale in the store, he said, are labeled, including some that clearly state they were made in Asia.

"We've always done our best to run a good shop," Harris said.

He also said that it wouldn't be possible to prove other items were made by American Indians, because the artists are either dead or live in states scattered around the country.