Posts Tagged ‘Mi Pueblito’
Every since the discovery of Panama in 1501 by Rodrigo de Bastidas, this narrow piece of Tropical land has been a crossing point home for multiple ethnic groups. In Panama, we have the peaceful coexistence of numerous foreign communities such as: Spanish, Greek, Italian, Indian, Jews, Palestinians, Chinese, West Indians, Colombians and so forth. The construction of the Trans-Isthmian railroad in 1855 and the Panama Canal in 1914, attracted many foreign workers to the isthmus.
Panama is also fortunate to have a rich Amerindian population. In fact, 6.7 percent of the country’s population consists of Amerindian descendents. The Amerindian population includes six distinct indigenous communities: the Emberá, Wounaan, Ngäbe Buglé, Kuna, Naso-Teribe and Bribri. More than half the Amerindian population live in the Panama City–Colón metropolitan corridor. These numerous Indian tribes represent a strong tourist attraction for foreign visitors who find these ethnic groups to be fascinating subjects to study and photograph.
For example, the Kuna Indians are internationally recognized due to their rich culture and their attractive molas (in Kuna dialect “dulegaya”). Mola means “blouse” or “clothing“. Molas are colorful panels and intricate reverse applique that are sewn together to create the Kuna’s blouse. The Kuna molas are Panama’s most famous native handcraft, Many of these blouses and individual panels have come to be prized collectibles amongst textile enthusiasts and museums all over the world. The Kuna live mainly along the Caribbean coast east of Colón, and account for approximately thirty percent of Panama’s indigenous Indians.
The indigenous Indian tribes are concentrated in remote regions of Panama, and it has been their isolation that has contributed to their their cultural survival. The Ngäbe-Buglé (also called Guaymí Indians), who account for around sixty percent of all the indigenous Indians in Panama, inhabit the remote parts of northwest Panama. In order to sustain themselves, many Ggäbe-Buglé resort to working in the cash economy. Coffee picking, work on large cattle farms and on banana plantations provide the main source of income. Also, once made for war and ceremony, some Ngäbe-Buglé sell beaded necklaces on the side of the roads in Panama.
Other smaller Indian tribes are scattered in the remote mountains of western Panama and the interior of Darién. The Emberá occupy the southeastern of Province of Darién along the border with Colombia. Most are bilingual in Spanish and Chocó. The Bribri are a small section of the Talamanca tribe of Costa Rica.
The slightly more than 3,800 Naso-Teribe Indians live along the Teribe, San Juan, and Changuinola rivers in the western Panamanian province of Bocas del Toro. Nearly all of them speak the Teribe language, which belongs to the Chibchan Family. They are linguistically and culturally related to the Térraba (who also are known as Teribe) Indians of Costa Rica. The majority of Naso-Teribe of Panama live as farmers or as laborers in the American banana plantations of Changuinola in the province of Bocas del Toro.
The Wounaan are also one of six indigenous peoples (Bribri, Ngäbe-Buglé, Emberá, Kuna, Naso-Teribe, and Wounaan) who live within the Republic of Panama. The Wounaan is one of the smallest indigenous groups in Panama. The majority of the 6,800 Wounaan live in the Province of Darien; Panama’s largest and scarcely populated province. Most Wounaan live in small communities, located within and outside the two Embera-Wounaan “comarcas” (Indian reservations), which are indigenous communities with special autonomous administrations. They also live inside and around Panama City and other urban neighborhoods along the Pan American Highway, and specifically, in three villages in the Eastern part of the Province of Panama along the Pacific Ocean’s foothills of the Maje mountain range.
Recently I went to Mi Pueblito and took a couple of shots of the area adjacent to the Indian Village. The village itself was being restored after it was destroyed by heavy rainfalls during December 2010. Some natives sought refuge in nearby buildings where they are currently selling their handicrafts.
These are the pictures of a Wounaan and Kuna natives in a handcraft store at Mi Pueblito in Panama City, Panama.
Below are a couple of pictures of a pretty nice wooden church following the architectural style of Afro-Caribbean buildings. This structure is located within the premises of Mi Pueblito in Panama City, Panama. The lush foliage you see behind the church, is the famous Ancon Hill which stands like a sentinel in the vibrant urban center of Panama City.
Here we go.