A Washington state man whose family and business sold over $1 million in Philippine made carvings billed as Alaska Native art has been sentenced two years in federal prison, officials with the U.S. Attorney’s office Alaska said Wednesday. 

For these violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, Christobal “Cris” Magno Rodrigo, 59, was also ordered to make a $60,000 donation to the Tlingit and Haida Central Counsel Vocational Program, write a letter of apology to be published in the Ketchikan Daily News, and serve three years under supervised release. According to the Indian Art and Crafts Board, this is the longest prison sentence a defendant has received for any Indian Arts and Crafts violation in the U.S. – 18 months longer than any other sentence. 

Court documents in Juneau note that from April 2016 to December 2021, while residing in Washington state, Rodrigo and his family owned and operated Alaska Stone Arts LLC and Rail Creek LLC in Ketchikan. Alaska Stone Arts sold primarily stone carvings and Rail Creek sold primarily wooden total poles. These items were sourced from Rodrigo Creative Crafts, a firm Rodrigo and his wife owned in the Philippines. 

The sole purpose of the Philippine business was to produce carvings featuring Alaska Native designs and motifs using Philippine labor. The carvings were shipped to the U.S., where they were sold as authentic Native art. 

Court documents also showed that Rodrigo hired Alaska Natives at both Ketchikan stores to represent and sell Philippine produced art as their own authentic Alaska Native art. Workers told customers they were all related family working in the store, and the art was produced from locally-sourced materials and made by Alaska Natives. 

Prior to the conspiracy, Rodrigo worked in Alaska at different stores and shops producing stone carvings that were sold in the tourist trade for over 20 years. He taught the styles of Alaska Native stone art and wood totem poles to the Philippine based company. 


In 2019, and for part of 2021, the family and their Alaska-based company employees sold over $1 million worth of Philippine made carvings presented as Alaska Native artwork. 

Co-conspirators in this case include Glenda Tiglao Rodrigo, 46, and Christian Ryan Tiglao Rodrigo, 24. Their cases are still ongoing. 

“The actions the defendant took to purposefully deceive customers and forge artwork is a cultural affront to Alaska Native artisans who pride themselves on producing these historical works of art, and negatively affects those who make a living practicing the craft,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. 

“This deceptive business practice cheated customers and undermined the economic livelihood of Alaska Native artists,” said Edward Grace, Assistant Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement. “This sentence was the result of the strong collaboration between our special agents, the Indian Arts and Crafts Board, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office.”