What will people know about your culture 100, 200, 300 years from now?
While it’s unlikely that either of us will be there to find out, there’s no question that it’s a question that many cultures would agree is important. It’s important because even today, we know of cultures who are left with questions around their own history and roots. It’s important because cultural preservation is a great way for the future and current generations to be connected to the past.
It offers a sense of pride. It offers a sense of meaning. And more than anything, cultural preservation offers the world a diverse and beautiful connection from top to bottom.
In a world where it’s easier than ever to get caught up in the latest gadget and gizmo – it’s becoming more important than ever to preserve culture. In this blog post, we’re going to share 10 simple ways that you can preserve your culture so future generations will know their history.
Celebrate & Enjoy Cultural Food
Cooking (and eating!) cultural food is a delicious way to honour and preserve your heritage. Get together with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, to recreate and enjoy traditional foods. Document recipes and techniques though writing, images, and video.
Whole foods and spices are the foundation of traditional cooking. Visit farmer’s markets, ethnic grocery stores, or even hunt and forage, to create authentic food experiences.
Learn the Dance Moves
Join in the dance!
Dance often plays an integral role at cultural gatherings and events. Regardless of whether or not you are a naturally gifted dancer or someone with two left feet, dance can be a fun way to participate in celebrations. Find a professional instructor, or simply ask someone in your family or community to walk you through the steps. For a more immersive experience, make or buy a traditional dancing costume.
Speak the Language
Language is more than just a means to communicate. Linguists have found that language is a unique system of thinking and knowing. While it can take considerable time to learn fluency, the process of learning can provide its own rewards. Many Indigenous languages are critically endangered. Worldwide efforts to increase the number of traditional language speakers, as well as recording language speakers, is a global priority.
Make Music & Share It With Friends
Creating traditional music by singing or playing an instrument is a fun way to preserve and share your culture. Whether you perform in your living room, at a community event, or professionally, music is a powerful way to move both the body and the heart.
Consider recording your music and sharing it online via YouTube, a website, or other service.
Create, Make & Craft Cultural Goods
Clothing, toys, canoes, musical instruments, art – culture abounds with handmade tradition. Keep traditions alive by learning the meaning, craft, and use behind cultural objects.
Many crafts today are reproduced by companies that have no connection to the culture. This is called cultural appropriation. Be sure to learn from individuals with an authentic connection to a craft’s roots and celebrate them.
Embrace The Digitization of Your Culture
Time, temperature, and the elements are unkind to photos, videos, and sound recordings. Digitizing precious recordings not only preserves them, it also makes it easier to share them online. Easily make your own contribution by documenting culture today using your phone or other device.
Collect and record available information about each record whenever possible. Where and when was the image taken? Who took the photo, and do you have the right to share the image? Who and/or what is in the image?
Conduct Interviews With Community Members
Go to the source! Conduct and record interviews with cultural experts, including family and community members. Be respectful, listen carefully, ask questions, and record your learnings. When possible, use technology to capture photos, sound recordings, and video.
Elders are libraries of knowledge. Take the time to sit down over a cup of tea with an elder willing to share his or her knowledge.
Document & Distribute Your Culture
Culture is experiential and lives through shared knowledge. Share your knowledge and passion with others. Teaching is key to preserving culture across generations. Host workshops, record and share information online, and mentor others to preserve and revitalize culture. Codex it easy to preserve and share culture through writing, images, video, and sound. No design or coding skills are needed. All it takes is a few short minutes to get started and create an online gallery that is ready to be shared on social media and with family or friends. Check it out
Map Your Family Tree
Tracing your genealogy has become easier with the abundance of online apps and services. Follow your ancestral lines and traces connections to learn more about both your family and your culture. Family tree projects help children builds pride and identity. They are part of the family tree! Engage youth in projects through research, craft, and storytelling.
Celebrate Cultural Holidays & Traditions
Holidays, special occasions, and celebrations are great places to reconnect and honour culture. Traditions, music, dancing, ceremony, food, and language often converge at cultural events. Events provide excellent opportunities to both 'sample' traditions as well as contribute.
Planning a wedding? Incorporate culturally relevant traditions for an immersive and unforgettable experience.
Wrapping Things Up
These are just 10 of the many ways that you can preserve and celebrate culture.
We know that there are tons of other great ways to preserve culture but are hopeful that these 10 simple tips have inspired you to take some steps to preserve your own. Do you know someone who might find this blog post interesting? Pass it along! The more people taking part in cultural preservation the better, as it will give future generations a better chance of knowing about the past.
If you know of any other ways to preserve culture that we missed, we’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and let us know what strategies or ideas you’ve used to preserve culture.