Betty DuPree was known for her wealth of knowledge about Cherokee crafts and crafts marketing due to her extensive experience at Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, which she managed for many years until her retirement.
Betty DuPree was born and raised in Cherokee and graduated from Cherokee High School. After she married, she left Cherokee with her husband, who worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They spent many ears in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado. During those years she worked in arts and crafts galleries and learned about the crafts, how to price them fairly, and how to work with artists.
When the DuPrees moved back to Cherokee, Betty applied for the job of manager of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual. “I went down and got my job, and stayed twenty-four years,” she chuckled, remembering that her initial motivation to apply was simply to earn some money for a new stove and refrigerator. During her years as manager, she helped Qualla Arts and Crafts become the most successful American Indian owned-and-operated cooperative arts organization in the nation. Before she left in 1997, Qualla celebrated its 50th anniversary, three hundred members strong.
While representing Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Betty DuPree presented many programs about Cherokee crafts and consulted with groups about marketing strategies for crafts. She consulted with American Indians from Oklahoma, with the Seneca Nation, and with four tribes in Maine to establish successful marketing practices for crafts. She worked with the Indian Arts and Crafts Association in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Washington, D.C. Her numerous talks and presentations included engagements at the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) in Cullowhee, North Carolina. She successfully nominated a number of Cherokee artists for the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award.
Betty passed away on October 18, 2012 at the age of 83.