Cultural Heritage Threat Levels

Heritage by Hand views the health of our cultural heritage as integral to the larger ecosystem balance within which a particular community and cultural tradition resides. We consider it crucial to the health of our culture and our planet that we work toward an integrated vision of our ecosystems that includes threats to both biological and cultural diversity and active programs to support the maintenance of both.

Heritage by Hand proposes a means of categorizing the health or risk of endangerment of a particular craft tradition and supports communities in maintaining their traditions. While the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has conceived of The Red List, which determines seven categories of threatened species within an ecosystem, we propose the following categories for the collections that we share with our customers, who in the end are collaborating with us to maintain the cultural and artistic diversity of the communities where we work.

1. Thriving (Culture bearers throughout community practice the craft and have passed it on successfully to younger generations. Craft sales are thriving.)


2. In Decline (Older culture bearers throughout community practice the craft  but little interest in younger generations to learn or practice the craft. Craft sales in decline.)


3. Vulnerable (Fewer culture bearers (define threshold?) throughout community practice the craft. Minimal craft sales.)



4. Under Imminent Threat (less than 5-10 culture bearers left practicing the craft. Almost no craft sales.)



5. Lost Tradition (functionally extinct tradition) (ex.: my Patagonian berry picking baskets- tradition lost in the past 15 years. I have the last baskets that were made practically.)