Today’s rate of cultural loss is alarming—linguists say that over the next century at least half of the 6,000 human languages in the world will disappear. In addition, indigenous and traditional communities are seeing their crafts, skills, folklore, beliefs, and vocational knowledge fade into obscurity under forces such as economic development, modernization, and environmental instability. In a 2007 Pew survey, a majority of people in 46 countries out of 47 said they felt “their traditional way of life is getting lost.” We continue to hear stories about the displacement of indigenous peoples from ancestral lands, the disappearance of languages, the marginalization of nomadic peoples—all of which lead to the permanent loss of rich cultural heritages and global diversity.
The Vanishing Cultures Project (VCP) is a nonprofit organization devoted to assisting indigenous, traditional groups worldwide preserve their culture by documenting their lifestyle through photography and research, funding local preservation initiatives, and educating the public about these groups. The books and photos we produce aim to amplify the voices of indigenous peoples, spread awareness on global diversity, and promote geographic literacy by providing a public archive of cultural information. The funds raised through book and print sales, donations, and grants are given to local cultural preservation initiatives to empower indigenous people in preserving aspects of their own culture.
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