Sustaining Community
Delores Churchill Preparing Spruce Root, circa 1990s

"I started helping my mother teach basketry and thought I would become a weaver in six months. That was when I was forty-I am now 90 years old and I am still learning new basketry techniques and teaching."
- Delores Churchill, Haida, Weaver, 2019

Master weaver Delores Churchill is an eminent Haida artist and an expert in gathering and preparing materials for cedar bark, spruce root, and Chilkat weaving. She was fortunate to learn these skills from traditional weavers whose knowledge went back thousands of years, including her mother, respected basket weaver Selina Peratrovich.

Her artistic influence and knowledge of the art stretches around the globe. Churchill has taught basketry and exhibited her works in numerous places including Canada, Hawaii, Germany, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. She has also worked as a researcher and consultant, helping identify works in museum collections.

Churchill has been honored for her role in Haida basket weaving and perpetuation of the Native arts including an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Alaska Southeast, National Basketry Association Lifetime Achievement Award, National Endowment of the Arts Lifetime Fellowship Award, Rasmuson Foundation Lifetime Fellowship Award, and the Governor's Award for the Arts.

After years of study and teaching, Churchill now witnesses the continuation of her art and culture through artists who have learned from her. "They are keeping this art alive so it continues long after I'm gone... It belongs to all of us."

Ketchikan Museums, KMD 29.1
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Delores Churchill preping Spruce rootDelores Churchill preping Spruce root