A master basketry artist from the Neskonlith community of the Secwepemc Nation, Delores Purdaby has practiced as a customary artist for over four decades. Her mother-in-law, Theresa Purdaby, and her mother, Christine Allen, along with other Secwepemc women, taught her the skills she continues to use today. Delores’ vast ecological and traditional knowledge – necessary for understanding when and where to harvest and how to process and finally use the materials pulled from nature into her baskets – is passed on to the many generations of Secwepemc she has gone on to mentor. Immersed in the community and in a different functioning of cultural art, production and circulation, Delores has never been formally recognized for her work, which is little known outside Secwepemc territory. She adapts and innovates with each piece she creates, from her massive cedar root basket that took many years to create, to smaller works often sold or traded to support ceremonial and community activities. Delores’ dedication to her practice and mentorship of future generations is a valuable legacy for all, in BC and beyond.
BC Achievement is an independent foundation established in 2003 that honours excellence and inspires achievement in British Columbia.