Protecting invaluable assets and traditions
Because 'new' isn't always ‘improved’
Sometimes Known As
Guardians, Custodians, Conservators, Stewards, Heritage Protectors
Keepers are the protectors and preservers of valuable assets—whether they are traditions, natural resources, wisdom, or cultural heritage. They ensure these treasures are kept intact and are passed on from the past to the future
Jobs a Keeper Might Hold
Legal: Medical Examiners
Healthcare: Medical Records Keeper
Technology: Digital Archivist
Construction: Building Restoration Specialist
Science: Environmental Conservationist
Art: Museum Curator
Keepers are responsible, respectful, and deeply dedicated. They possess a great reverence for the value they protect and a deep commitment to preserving it for future generations.
From protecting our past to shaping our future, keepers hold many abilities:
Conservation Knowledge: Preserving and protecting valuable information.
Organizational Skills: Managing time, efforts, and resources.
Respect for Tradition: Passing on values and practices to younger generations.
Historical Knowledge: Educating about past events, people, and societies.
Cultural Sensitivity: Respecting and protecting cultures.
The Exploiter: Those who disrespect and misuse valuable assets for personal or short-term gain, undermining the keepers' conservation efforts.
Catalysts: Will the keeper’s role in preserving the status quo conflict with the catalyst’s drive for change and transformation?
Visionaries: While the keeper’s focus on protection and conservation is crucial for a grounded future, will it align with the visionary’s radical imagination?
For keepers, whose role is vital in safeguarding the core values, traditions, and unique knowledge of organizations or cultures, the following traps can be particularly challenging:
Excessive Guardianship: Keepers might become overly-protective of traditions and knowledge, leading to an aversion to necessary changes or adaptations. This over-guardianship can create a barrier to integrating valuable past wisdom with contemporary practices, hindering the evolution and relevance of the organization or culture.
Overwhelm: The enormity of the task of preserving traditions and knowledge can be overwhelming for keepers. This sense of a heavy burden can lead to stress and a feeling of being overburdened, affecting their ability to effectively carry out their role.
Isolation: Particularly for keepers who are among the last of their kind, such as the last speakers of an indigenous language or holders of unique knowledge, there is a profound sense of isolation. This not only makes their task more challenging but can also lead to feelings of loneliness and a disconnection from others who may not understand or value their unique role.
Why They Are Essential For Transformation
Keepers are crucial in organizations for preserving the core values, traditions, and unique assets that give the organization its identity. Their efforts ensure that the rich history and unique aspects of an organization are not lost over time.
Focus For The Keeper’s Inner Work: Emotional Resilience
Emotional resilience is a pivotal trait for keepers. The potential dilution or loss of cultural tenets can be heart-wrenching. Navigating these challenges without succumbing to despair requires a fortitude that allows them to persevere in their mission. Equally important is adaptability. Recognizing that cultures are living entities that evolve, culture keepers deftly balance the preservation of ancient traditions with the acceptance of inevitable change. Their role also demands honed communication skills. They're tasked with articulating the heart and soul of a culture, ensuring it's conveyed with both respect and relevance for contemporary audiences.
On The Keeper’s Bookshelf
For a keeper looking to deepen their inner work and understanding, the following books are invaluable:
The Gift of Story: A Wise Tale About What is Enough by Clarissa Pinkola Estés delves into the significance of storytelling in maintaining cultural narratives.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman offers an exploration of cultural clashes in a medical setting.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer provides a beautiful blend of indigenous wisdom and scientific understanding.
About The Keeper
Keepers are the changemakers who guard our heritage and traditions, ensuring the richness of our past is not overshadowed by the future. They are not just protectors of invaluable assets—but the custodians of our collective memory. Their work is critical in an age where the excitement of innovation can sometimes lead to the undervaluing of historical wisdom and cultural legacies. They provide a crucial balance, reminding us that progress and tradition can coexist harmoniously.
As defenders of truth and authenticity, keepers ensure historical narratives are preserved in their entirety, acknowledging both the achievements and transgressions of the past. Their role is especially significant in educating future generations, as they offer a comprehensive and honest understanding of history and empower them to learn from it. Their dedication to preserving the truth helps prevent the erasure of important lessons and experiences from our collective consciousness.
In a world that often looks forward, keepers remind us of the importance of looking back. By preserving the past, they provide a foundation for a more informed and conscientious future, ensuring that our history, in all its complexity, continues to inform and guide us.
Keepers In Real Life
In a world where cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and environmental conservation are increasingly vital, these are the individuals who stand out as keepers, dedicated to preserving invaluable assets for future generations.
Autumn Peltier, an Anishinaabe Indigenous clean water advocate from Canada, is a prominent youth figure in environmental activism. She has been actively involved in advocating for water protection, emphasizing the sacredness and importance of clean water in Indigenous cultures. As a keeper, Autumn stands out for her dedication to preserving her community's traditions and natural resources, particularly water, for future generations.
Youssou N'Dour is a celebrated Senegalese singer, songwriter, and composer, recognized for his efforts to preserve and promote African music and culture. His work has been instrumental in introducing the world to the rich musical traditions of Senegal and West Africa. N'Dour's commitment to his cultural heritage, both in his music and his advocacy, marks him as a keeper of African music and traditions.
Dr. Vandana Shiva from India is a physicist and activist whose work in biodiversity conservation and protection of native seeds is a form of environmental healing. By advocating for organic farming and against genetically modified seeds, she has worked to preserve the health of both the earth and its inhabitants, drawing connections between ecological balance and overall wellness.
“Your own fire, your spirit. We all carry a piece of that sacred fire within us. We have to honour it and care for it. You are the fire keeper.”
— Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass
"Funny how when your secret keeper is gone, all those dreams and conversations vanish, too."
— Erin Stewart, Scars Like Wings
“But people have no idea what time is. They think it’s a line, spinning out from three seconds behind them, then vanishing just as fast into the three seconds of fog just ahead. They can’t see that time is one spreading ring wrapped around another, outward and outward until the thinnest skin of Now depends for its being on the enormous mass of everything that has already died.”
― Richard Powers, The Overstory