GREENWOOD, S.C. – After several years of trying, American Indians in South Carolina finally have a way to get state license plates with Native artwork.
The 2006 state Legislature passed an amendment to an existing law to allow for the creation and distribution of the “Native American special license plates to owners of private passenger motor vehicles registered in their names.”
Sponsored by Sen. Michael Fair, R-S.C., and Sen. C. Bradley Hutto, D-S.C., the amendment was ratified on June 14 as part of the 1976 law Section 12, chapter 3, title 56.
The Rev. John Abrams of Greenwood said American Indians in the state have been trying for more than 12 years to get the state to create a Native license plate. All he did, he said, was call state Rep. Lewis “Gene” Pinson, R-S.C., to get the procedure moving.
Abrams, who heads the Native American Prison Program in the state, said Native artwork must be designed for the plate before it can be distributed by the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles. He declared a statewide contest for a three and one-quarter-square-inch Native design to be placed on the plates.
Abrams said he would like to see state plates with a shield and feathers like those in Oklahoma or similar to North Carolina’s Native plates. Abrams set a deadline of Sept. 1 for submitting the designs.
Interested persons in the state can reach Abrams at ndndncr
@nctv.com or write to him at 126 Roman Circle, Greenwood, SC 29649.
Abrams explained that along with the contest, he must attain 400 paid orders at $54 per plate. Once the initial orders are complete, the money will be given to the DMV so it can begin distributing the plates.
Payment must be made to the NAPP at the above address. Abrams will keep the paid funds, according to state requirements, until all the 400 plates have been ordered.
The plates would be available for the public at the state DMV approximately 22 weeks after the initial orders, said Abrams. After that, the plates can be obtained at local DMV offices.
Judging of the submitted designs will be done by the 400 people who have prepaid for the plates and by tribes and Indian groups, state-recognized or unrecognized but listed with the State Commission for Minority Affairs.
The winner will be asked to sign a notarized statement which says the design is original and will be released to NAPP and the South Carolina DMV. The original design may be altered to fit the required size on the license plate.
Entries can be e-mailed to the above address or mailed to Abrams at 716 Old Abbeville Highway, Greenwood, SC 29649. Abrams said entries could be either computer-generated or freestyle artwork.
Abrams, a dancer at pow wows who is of the Saponi Tribe, said he will have the chosen design on display at the state’s fall pow wows.