Indigenous Caribbean Network

DUJO...LA HAMACA DE MADERA / THE WOODEN HAMMOCK

 

LA HAMACA DE MADERA

THE WOODEN HAMMOCK

 

Un analisis de la forma typica de los antiguos dujos tainos tipo espaldar alto, con respecto a su semejanza a la forma de una hamaca, usando  como ejemplo de relacion comparativa las costumbres de los Indigenas Cuna del Panama.

An analysis of the traditional shape of ancient high-backed Taino duho stools with regard to the similarity between their shape and the shape of a hammock, using as an example of comparative relationship the customs of the Cuna Indigenous people of Panama.

 

Los antiguos tainos antillanos llegaron a desarrollar un alto nivel de estetica en el arte de la escultura de madera que supero de manera extrema los logros de sus antepasados arahuacos del continente sudamericano. Dentro de lo que fue la tecnologia escultural de los antiguos tainos resaltaron siempre por su eccelencia los maravillosos bancos de madera tallada usados por los altos funcionarios de la jerarquia cacical y los chamanes. Los antiguos tainos le pusieron de nombre la palabra "dujo" a estos objetos.

The ancient Tainos developed a high degree of aesthetic achievement in the art of wood sculpture to the point of even surpassing the accomplishments of their Arawakan ancestors in the South American continent.

Within the realm of Taino sculpture technology the intricately adorned wooden stools which were used almost exclusively by the ruling hierarchy of kasikes and the shaman behikes have come to stand out as the finest manifestations of this art. The ancient Tainos called these objects "duhos".

La tecnica de tallar madera siempre existio en las zonas tropicales de los bosques y llanos del Orinoco y el Amazonas, y en esos lugares siempre se han confeccionado bancos de madera cuyo uso se limita al asentamiento de jefes y chamanes. Hasta el dia de hoy los Wai Wai de Guyana, un grupo de ascendencia caribe, todavia elaboran banquetas muy bonitas para el uso de personas importantes de esa tribu.

The technology of wood carving has always existed in the tropical zones throughout the forests and lowlands of the Amazon and Orinoco, and in those regions such wooden stools have always been used mostly by chiefs and shamans. Currently the Wai Wai, a Carib-related group living in Guyana still create beautiful stools for use by high-ranked people of the tribe.

Asi describe un etnologo a los Wai Wai:

"The Wai Wai is an indigenous tribe found in the southern part of Guyana bordering Brazil. Considered Guyana’s most traditional tribe, the Wai Wais are extremely talented hunters and produce various unique and intricate indigenous craft pieces.

Linguistically and genetically, the Wai Wai people are part of the Carib family, and have the lowest population among Amerindian tribes in Guyana"

traduccion al castellano:

"Los Wai Wai son una tribu indigena ubicada en la region sure~a de Guyana en las zonas fronterizas con Brasil. Son conocidos como la mas tradicional de las tribus guayanesas. Son cazadores muy talentosos y producen artesanias muy distintivas. Esta gente pertenece a la familia Caribe en el sentido liguistico y genetico y son el grupo indigena con poblacion mas limitada en todo el pais."

http://www.guyanatimesinternational.com/?p=10496

This is a description of the Wai Wai by an ethnologist:

"The Wai Wai is an indigenous tribe found in the southern part of Guyana bordering Brazil. Considered Guyana’s most traditional tribe, the Wai Wais are extremely talented hunters and produce various unique and intricate indigenous craft pieces.

Linguistically and genetically, the Wai Wai people are part of the Carib family, and have the lowest population among Amerindian tribes in Guyana"

http://www.guyanatimesinternational.com/?p=10496

 

Al estudiar la forma de estas banquetas Wai Wai, comparandolas con los hallazgos arqueologicos de ciertos asientos de madera tainos no cabe lugar a duda que los primeros dujos construidos por los antepasados de los tainos le debieron su forma a la estetica tradicional sudamericana que se refleja en estos simples asientos Wai Wai. Esta tradicion de los asientos simples sin espaldar nunca desaparecio por completo en las Antillas y se continuo en el caso de muchos ejemplares aun cuando los tainos comenzaron a evolucionar la mas compleja forma del dujo de elpaldar alto.

Close study of the shape of these Wai Wai stools, comparing them with similar wooden seats discovered in Taino archeological sites leaves the observer with no doubt that the earliest duhos created by the ancestors of the ancient Tainos owed most of their form to the South American aesthetic tradition that produced those simple Wai Wai seats. This tradition of rather simple backless stools actually never dissappeared completely in the Antilles even later, after the Tainos began to produce the more elaborate high-backed duho forms.

Estos ejemplares tainos de estilo mas rudimentario demuestran la forma tipica heredada de los antecedentes sudamericanos.

These more rudimentary Taino pieces clearly demonstrated the traditional form inherited directly from the South American ancestors.

Los antiguos tainos hasta nos dejaron obras artisticas elaboradas en barro que demuestran como un chaman o cacique hubo de sentarse en uno de esos asientos simples sin espaldar.

The ancient Tainos even left behind artistic work in clay which illustrates how the shaman or chief actually sat on these simpler, backless stools

 

Es obvio que la tradicion de los bancos simples sin espaldar de los antiguos tainos tiene raices muy profundas en las zonas de los bosques tropicales de sudamerica como se puede dicernir en la forma de ejemplares elaborados por otros grupos selvaticos sudamericanos como los Shuar y los Shipibos.

It is plainly evident that this tradition of backless simpler stools of the ancient Taino has deep roots in the tropical rainforests of South America as can be observed in the form  of these examples created by other South American jungle-dwelling groups such as the Shuar and the Shipibo.

E aqui una banqueta shuar del Amazonas que ostenta la forma de un cuello y cabeza  zoomorfico.

Hasta el dia de hoy en las aldeas shuar abundan tales banquetas.

This Shuar stool features the shape of a zoomorphic neck and head.

Currently in the villages of the Shuar these types of stools still abound.

 

 

Tambient los Shipibos producen banquetas con semejantes dimenciones.

The Shipibo also produce stools of similar dimensions.

Esta banqueta Shipibo se a confeccionado con la forma de un animal de cuatro patas, con cuello y cabeza. Su forma tambien nos obliga a pensar de algunos dujos antillanos.

This Shipibo stool was created in the shape of a four-legged animal with a neck and head. Its shape obliges the observer to think of some of the Antillean duhos which also feature similar animal features.

 

Pero, como ya sabemos, la estetica del dujo taino antillano divergio radicalmente  de los tipos artisticos antepasados sudamericanos. El dujo taino mantuvo su forma de cuatro patas zoomorfica que heredo de los antecedentes sudamericanos, pero los artesanos tainos le a~adieron gradualmente una clase de espaldar, algunas veces como extension del la cola del animal, y otras veces como desarrollo de cuerpo antropomorfico que nunca ostentaron los antecedentes de sudamerica.

But, as is well known, eventually the aesthetic basis of the Taino duho ended up diverging radically from the artistic types of their South American ancestors. Admittedly, the Taino duho essentially retained the fundamental four-legged zoomorphic form that it inherited from its South American precursors, but the Taino artisans gradually began to add a kind of high back to their pieces, sometimes in the form of an extention of the original animal's tail, and incresingly, in other cases they developed human body shapes that had never  been featured  in the South American forebears.

Esta manifestacion estetica es unica del Caribe y yo no e podido hallar nada comparable en ninguna otra cultura Indigena de las Americas.

El espaldar alto de esos dujos tainos tiene una forma muy curiosa que no se puede comparar al espaldar de las sillas corrientes de las culturas europeas. Su inclinacion hacia atras demuestra que existe aqui una morfologia muy diferente a la de esas sillas. Esa inclinacion y tambien la tendencia de que el espaldar suele diminuir de hancho hacia arriba me ha dado razon de creer que los artesanos tainos que crearon esas banquetas pretendian imitar la forma de una hamaca.

Este criterio es confirmado cuando se comprende que la manera de sentarse en tales banquetas es con las piernas a cada lado del asiento. como a caballo.

This stylistic manifestation is unique to the Indigenous Caribbean, and I have not been able to discover anything comparable in the wooden stool types of any other Native culture of the Americas.

The high back of these Taino duhos presents a very curious form that does not correspond in any way to the typical high back of common old-world type chairs. The dramatic backward angle inclination of the duho back demonstrates that these pieces exist within a morphological realm which is totally different from that of the western high-backed chairs. This dramatic backward slant of the back, the low-slung, curving profile of the base, plus the fact that these duho backs tend to taper and narrow in width toward the top has given me reason to believe that the Taino artisans who created them were actually attempting to depict the shape of a hammock.This suspicion is confirmed when one understands how people actually sat on such stools, with legs positioned on either side of the seat as if riding astride a horse.

Para poder aclarar este punto es necesario aqui acudir a la tradicion de un grupo indigena que se ubica en un archipielago de la costa Caribe~a del Panama llamado San Blas. En las islas San Blas vive una tribu que se autodenomina "Tules" pero es conocida popularmente por el nombre "Cunas" o "Kunas".

Los Cunas son famosos por la artesania textil de sus mujeres llamada "molas" que ellas evolucionaron historicamente despues de la conquista europea. 

To make this point clearer it is necessary here to investigate the traditions of an Indigenous people located on a tiny group of islands off the coast of Panama called San Blas. On these San Blas islands there lives a tribe of people who call themselves the "Tules", but who are popularly known by the name "Cunas" or "Kunas".

The Cunas are famous for the textile artistry of their women called "molas" which they developed after the European conquest.

E aqui una mujer Cuna con ejemplares de las famosas molas.

This is a Cuna woman with typical examples of the world-famous molas.

Aunque los hombres Cuna han abandonado sus atuendos tradicionales las mujeres de esta sociedad matriarcal continuan su tradicion de vestidura tipica y hasta hoy siguen elaborando sus hermosas molas que son parte de su realia diaria.

Although currently Cuna men have largely abandoned  their ancestral clothing in favor of western clothes, the women of this matriarchal society continue to dress in their traditional regalia and to this day they still produce their beautiful molas which are an integral part of their every-day dress.

Los Cunas son considerados por algunos antropologos como parte del grupo liguistico de los caribes, echo que los hace a ellos parte de la gran familia etnica de nuestra cuenca caribe~a.

The Cunas are believed by some scholars to belong to a Carib-speaking linguistic tribal group, a fact that makes them very much a part of the great ethnic family of the circum-Caribbean region.

Kuna info in English

http://www.ms-starship.com/sciencenew/kuna_indians.htm

Informacion acerca de los Kunas en castellano

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuna_(etnia)

Los Cunas tienen ciertas tradiciones con respecto a las costumbres de sus jefes que se prestan a analisis comparativo en relacion a los dujos tainos. Estas gentes comparten la tradicion de la hamaca con todos los otros grupos del caribe. Las hamacas son muy importantes en la cultura Cuna y su uso fue parte de un estudio especial llevado a cabo en 1974 por la estudiosa Anne Lambert. E aqui una reproduccion de parte de ese reporte por Anne Lambert:

CUNA CACHI

A STUDY OF HAMMOCK WEAVING AMONG THE CUNA INDIANS OF THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS

Anne Lambert

1974

(study based on information gained from informants and direct observation while living with the Tule (Cuna People) in 1974

http://ulita.leeds.ac.uk/docs/Ars_Textrina/Volume5/7.Cuna%20cachi.pdf

"The hammock, or cachi, plays a very important role in both the everyday and ceremonial life of the Cuna." (page 106)

Almost all Cuna use the hammock for sleeping at night and occasionally during the day. Some hammocks are specifically set up in activity areas to be used as seating during the day...in congress hall the chief, and/or other dignitaries recline in hammocks while carrying on meetings.

Many ceremonial activities incorporate the hammock, including birth, rites of passage and death...Many cures for illness involve the use of a hammock, and when these efforts are not successful, the hammock becomes an important part of the burial."

(page 107)

traduccion al castellano:

  "EL CACHI CUNA

Un Estudio De La Confeccion De Hamacas Entre Los Indigenas Cuna De Las Islas San Blas

Anne Lambert 1974

estudio basado en informacion suplida por los mismos nativos y tambien basada en observacion directa durante el tiempo en que se estuvo viviendo entre los Tule (gente Cuna) en el a~o 1974.

   La hamaca o 'cachi' tiene un papel muy importante en la vida cotidiana  y tambien en la vida ceremonial de los Cunas. (pagina 106)

Casi todos los Cunas usan la hamaca como camas para dormir por la noche y en algunas ocaciones durante el dia.

Algunas hamacas se usan especificamente como asientos en ciertas areas de actividades especiales durante el dia...en la sala del congreso tribal el jefe y otros dignitarios se reclinan en hamacas durante sus reuniones.

Muchas actividades ceremoniales incorporan la hamaca, incluyendo nacimiento de bebitos, los ritos funerarios...Muchas actividades de los curanderos incluyen el uso de hamacas, y en los casos cuando esos esfuerzos no triunfan, la hamaca se convierte en elemento muy importante del entierro del difunto. (pagina 107)"

The Cunas observe certain traditions with regard to the behavior of their chiefs and head-men which lends itself to comparative analysis in relation to our present topic of Taino duhos.These people partake wholly in the general tradition of hammock-use which is shared by practically all Indigenous groups of the Caribbean. Hammocks are extremely important in Cuna culture and their use became the focus of a special research project carried out in 1974 by the scholar Anne Lambert.Here is a reproduction of a portion of Anne Lambert's report:

CUNA CACHI

A STUDY OF HAMMOCK WEAVING AMONG THE CUNA INDIANS OF THE SAN BLAS ISLANDS

Anne Lambert

1974

(study based on information gained from informants and direct observation while living with the Tule (Cuna People) in 1974

http://ulita.leeds.ac.uk/docs/Ars_Textrina/Volume5/7.Cuna%20cachi.pdf

"The hammock, or cachi, plays a very important role in both the everyday and ceremonial life of the Cuna." (page 106)

Almost all Cuna use the hammock for sleeping at night and occasionally during the day. Some hammocks are specifically set up in activity areas to be used as seating during the day...in congress hall the chief, and/or other dignitaries recline in hammocks while carrying on meetings.

Many ceremonial activities incorporate the hammock, including birth, rites of passage and death...Many cures for illness involve the use of a hammock, and when these efforts are not successful, the hammock becomes an important part of the burial."

(page 107)

 

 

Es obvio que los Cunas comparten muchas tradiciones de la hamaca con los antiguos tainos, especialmente el uso de la hamaca para preparar al difunto antes de ser enterrado.

Como describe Anne Lambert los Cunas no solamente usan las hamacas como camas sino que tambien las usan como asiento de honor de los personajes importantes de la tribu durante sus congresos y discusiones.

El uso de la hamaca en estas circunstancias son causa de interes respecto a nuestro tema de los dujos pues la postura del cuerpo del jefe o chaman Cuna sobre la hamaca en esas ocaciones es identico al del taino en su dujo.

It's obvious that the Cunas share in many hammock traditions with the ancient Tainos, especially the use of the hammock in the preparation of the deceased before burial.

As Anne Lambert points out, the Cunas don't only use the hammocks as beds, but also as seats of honor for important people of the tribe during their times of discussions. The use of the hammock specifically, under special circumstances, is of particular interest with respect to our topic of the Taino duhos since the body posture of the chief or shaman astride these special hammocks in these instances is identical to that of the ancient Taino astride his duho.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/travelwitholga/6345915082/

Al parecer los tainos o sus antecesores tambien usaron la hamaca en algunas ocaciones como asiento de honor durante conferencias y discuciones de jefes. Esta postura tipica fue traducida de la hamaca de tela al dujo de madera por lo cual los artesanos tainos comenzaron a confeccionar lo que se le puede llamar "hamacas de madera" en la forma de los dujos de espaldar alto.

It appears that the ancient Tainos or their ancestors also used hammocks on certain ocasions as seats of honor during moments of discussions of chiefs. This body posture eventually was transferred from the cloth hammock to the wooden duho, which caused Taino artisans to begin creating what can only be called "wooden hammocks" in the form of the high-backed duhos.

Esta es una innovacion peculiar y unica de los tainos y le proporciono al artesano taino la oportunidad de crear un tipo de asiento ceremonial de belleza eccepcional.

This innovation is peculiar and uniquely Taino, and it provided the Taino artisan the opportunity to create a type of ceremonial seat of exceptional beauty.

 El echo que los dujos representaran como una hamaca de madera lleva repercusiones espirituales contundentes. La hamaca fue para el antiguo taino un objeto de simbolismo mistico multiple. Se puede inferir que para esa gente del ciglo 15 las hamacas tendrian la misma importancia que presentemente tiene en la cultura Cuna. Al igual que en el caso de los Cunas, los antiguos tainos usaron la hamaca como una clase de mortaja para envolver el cadaver de un muerto a la hora del entierro . Esto quiere decir que este objeto o cualquier objeto que lo represente tendria un gran significado con respecto a las relaciones entre los vivos y los muertos en el mundo mistico de los antiguos antillanos. Esto esta confirmado por el echo que varios entierros de personages importantes de la cultura taina incluyen el asentamiento del cadaver en un dujo (vease Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdez). En mi opinion el acto de enterrar el cadaver con un dujo viene  siendo sinonimo o metaforico del entierro del muerto envuelto en una hamaca.  El dujo es una hamaca de madera.

El dujo llego a ser como un medio de conducto que canalisa la energia mistica en forma de flujo o fluido desde el mundo espiritual hasta el mundo material. Cuando el chaman o kasike se encuentra sentado sobre su dujo se convierte en un vehiculo atravez el cual se establece la comunicacion entre los vivos y los muertos. De manera semejante las hamacas de los chamanes de la selva Amazona le provee al medico curandero una base atravez de la cual el establece acceso a los poderes medicinales del inframundo.

La descripcion del uso de la hamaca por los curanderos Cuna que nos provee Anne Lambert es comparable a la descripcion del uso de una banqueta ceremonial de madera que nos ofrece un  turista que observo una ceremonia curativa en la zona del Amazonas:

"ILLUMINATED by a single candle, the shaman’s weathered face appeared kindly, like that of a sympathetic doctor, with painted red marks also suggesting a calm, fierce authority — both qualities that I would rely on during the dark and uncertain hours ahead. He sat on a wooden stool carved into a tortoise, and wore turquoise beads around his neck and a crown of crimson feathers. A table beside him displayed the modest tools of the ceremony: a fan of leaves, jungle tobacco, a gourd bowl and a clear plastic soda bottle containing an opaque, brown liquid."

traduccion al castellano:

"Iluminada por la luz de una sola vela, la cara del chaman tenia una apariencia bondadosa, como un medico simpatetico cuyo rostro marcado de pintura roja sujeria una autoridad al mismo tiempo serena y fiera. Esas dos cualiadades me sirvieron de apoyo emocional durante las horas siguientes de tinieblas e incertidumbre. El estaba sentado en una banqueta de madera tallada en forma de tortuga. Al rededor de su cuello llevaba un collar de cuentas de turquesa. En la cabeza ostentaba una corona de plumas rojas. En una mesa a su lado se encontraban las modestas herramientas de la ceremonia: un abanico de hojas vegetales, tabaco selvatico, un conten hecho de una higuera, y una botella de plastico transparente que contenia un liquido opaco de color cafe."

The fact that duhos represented a kind of wooden hammock carries with it certain spiritual repercussions of a powerful nature. The hammock was, to the ancient Taino, an object of mystical symbolism on multiple levels. It can be inferred that, to those fifteenth-century people, hammocks were just as important as they are to modern-day Cunas. In a way similar to that of the Cunas, the ancient Tainos used their hammocks as a kind of death-shroud to wrap the body of a deceased person at the time of burial. This means that this object, or any object that represents it, would possess great significance with respect to the relationship between the living and the dead within the mystic realm of the ancient Antilleans. That the hammock and the duho were synonimous is confirmed by the fact that the burial of a number of important Tainos includes the act of interring the body sitting on a duho (see Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdez). In my opinion, the act of burying a deceased person with a duho is a metaphor for the burial of a person wrapped up in his hammock. The duho is, in this case, trully a wooden hammock.

The duho came to be something like a conduit which could channel mystic energy in the form of a flow from the spiritual realm to the physical realm. When the behike or the kasike found himself sitting on his duho he became a kind of medium through whom was established the communication link between the living and the dead. In a similar manner the hammocks of the Amazon rainforest shamans provide the healer with a base through which to establish access to the powerful medicinal energies of the other-world.

The description by Anne Lambert of the use of hammocks by the Cuna native healers is comparable to the description of the use of a ceremonial wooden stool offered by a tourist who observed a curing rite in the Amazon region:

 "ILLUMINATED by a single candle, the shaman’s weathered face appeared kindly, like that of a sympathetic doctor, with painted red marks also suggesting a calm, fierce authority — both qualities that I would rely on during the dark and uncertain hours ahead. He sat on a wooden stool carved into a tortoise, and wore turquoise beads around his neck and a crown of crimson feathers. A table beside him displayed the modest tools of the ceremony: a fan of leaves, jungle tobacco, a gourd bowl and a clear plastic soda bottle containing an opaque, brown liquid."

 

Vale la pena mencionar aqui que aunque los ejemplares mas antiguos o mas primitivos del dujo antillano mantienen gran semejanza a los tipos zoomorfes de las baquetas sudamericanas (lo cual indica la importancia del papel que juegan los animales totemicos que ayudan al chaman en su labor) el dujo de espaldar alto tiende a representar seres humanos y no animales. Esto sugiere un cambio de enfasis de animal a humano ancestral en el cual el prestijio mistico del antepasado desplaza al animal totemico.  En su obra acerca de los dujos tainos titulada TO BE SEATED WITH "GREAT COURTESY AND VENERATION":Contextual Aspects of The Taino Duho, la estudiosa Joanna M. Ostapkowicz menciona lo siguiente:

"The often elaborate carvings of the duhos represented zemis and ancestors, visually and symbolically supporting the seated individual and lending authority to their position and status." (Joanna M. Ostapkowicz TAINO ... Pre Columbian Art and Culture From The Caribbean1997)

traduccion al castellano:

"Las imagenes, muchas veces muy complejas, talladas en los duhos representaban zemies y antepasados que, de manera visual y simbolica, sostenian a los individuos sentados sobre ellos, prestandole autoridad a la posicion y estatus de esas personas."

It bears mentioning here that although the examples of the older, more rudimentary Antillean duhos could very well have maintained a strong similarity to the zoomorphic types of the South American stools (which would indicate the importance of the role played by the atotem nimal or animal spirit guide that typically assists the shaman in his work) the high-backed duho of later times tends to represent human beings rather than animals. This suggests a shift of emphasis from the animal to the ancestral human within which the mystical prestige of the ancestor (or even deities) replaces, at least partially, the animal guide.

In her research study about Taino duhos titled TO BE SEATED WITH "GREAT COURTESY AND VENERATION": Contextual Aspects of The Taino Duho, The Scholar Joanna M. Ostapkowicz comments:

"The often elaborate carvings of the duhos represented zemis and ancestors, visually and symbolically supporting the seated individual and lending authority to their position and status." (Joanna M. Ostapkowicz TAINO ... Pre Columbian Art and Culture From The Caribbean1997)


 

En mi opinion el artesano taino triunfo de manera genial en su afan de sintesisar los elementos mas importantes del misticismo asociado con la labor del cacike y del chaman. Esa labor fue la de establecer en su esencia fisica el medio de comunicacion entre el mundo ancestral de poderes numinosos y el mundo corriente de la comunidad viviente. Esas preciosas joyas del arte precolombino sobrevivieron para demostrarnos a todos los que vivimos ahora durante la epoca del renacimiento taino el poder del arte en el campo de la espiritualidad.

In my opinion the Taino artisan succeeded astonishingly in his effort to synthesize the most important elements of the mysticism associated with the task of both the kasike and the shaman. That task was to establish in his physical essence a medium of communication between the realm of ancestral numinous powers and the ordinary world of the living community. Those prescious jewels of pre-colombian art survived to the present time in order to demonstrate to all of us who are living now during this era of the Taino revival the power of art in the field of spirituality.

Taino Ti

Miguel

footnote:

Article about the Cuna by Trudy Brown:

Located just off the coast of Panama on the CaribbeanHYPERLINK  \l "" side is an isolated archipelago known as the San Blas Islands. These islands are largely unpopulated and undeveloped though a few have hotels for visitors wanting to take advantage of the opportunity to do some snorkeling among the many reefs in the area. Reachable only by boat or plane, these islands are the domain of the Kuna Indians who, despite occasional tourists, have managed to maintain much of their heritage and traditions intact.

Believed to be the descendants of the Caribs, the Kuna's settled on the San Blas Islands in the mid-1800s where they lived without incident until they sided with Columbia against Panama and police were sent in to keep the peace in 1915. However, the abuses of power

perpetrated by those policemen caused unrest which came to a head in 1925 with a rebellion. After negotiations, the Panamanian government decided to grant complete autonomy to the Kuna Indians and allow them to govern themselves as their traditions dictated.

Today, the Kuna Indians continue to live a very simple

life. At its highest level, the Kuna government is conducted by a congress which answers to a chief and an interpreter. Individual villages also have chiefs who manage the daily local business of deciding disagreements and interpreting the laws. They are not paid for their leadership role and are elected for life, usually chosen for their knowledge of Kuna tradition, chants, and laws. Essentially, the laws of the Kuna are the same as they have always been.

The gender roles today among the Kuna are the traditional roles. Since they are a matriarchal society, the Kuna women control the family money and inheritance is passed down through the female line. Men are expected to live and work with their wives' families. The men work gathering coconuts, fishing, and farming while the women take care of the house, prepare the food, and make the traditional Mola blouses for which the women of the tribe are famous. Though many of the men have abandoned tribal dress, the women still continue to wear colorful handmade Molas and sarongs accented with gold jewelry and nose rings.

The Kuna Economy makes the most of the islands they live on. They sell lobsters and coconuts as they have for decades, but now they also make money selling Molas and charging fees to tourists. Recently, the Kuna tribe has begun welcoming additional income from eco-tourism. Eco-tourism focuses on appreciating the natural wonders of an area while making as little impact as possible on the environment and the indigenous people. This allows the Kuna to benefit from an extra income to help meet growing economic needs of the communities which their simple life would be otherwise unable to provide. They get to keep their traditions and lifestyle while adding to their educationHYPERLINK  \l "" and health options with minimal global influence being introduced into their society.

The Kuna Indians have struggled to maintain the integrity of their culture while the rest of the world goes on around them. They have worked very hard to make sure that they will still be living and working in the same way, in the same environment, a hundred years from now as they did a hundred years before.

Trudy Brown.

http://www.helium.com/items/1613239-the-kuna-indians-of-panama

 

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Notes

La Bruja

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016 at 12:07am. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Apr 4, 2016.

Angel Rodriguez Caguana archeoastronomy

Created by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016 at 3:10pm. Last updated by Miguel Sague Jr Mar 29, 2016.

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