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Guna Yala, formerly known as San Blas, is an indigenous province in northeast Panama (Official Gazette of Panama). Guna Yala is home to the indigenous people known as the Gunas. Its capital is El Porvenir. It is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, on the south by the Darién Province and Emberá-Wounaan, on the east by Colombia, and on the west by the province of Colón.
|• Total||130 sq mi (337 km2)|
|Time zone||ETZ (UTC-5)|
|ISO 3166 code||PA-KY|
Guna Yala in Kuna means "Land Guna" or "Guna Mountain". The area was formerly known as San Blas, and later as Kuna Yala, but the name was changed in October 2011 to "Guna Yala" when the Government of Panama recognized the claim of the people that "Guna" was a closer representation of the name in their mother tongue than "Kuna".
By the Colombian Act of June 4, 1870 Tulenega Shire was created, which also included the present territory of the Guna Yala district; this comprises some of the communities of the District of Wargandí such as Mordi, and Sogubdi Asnadi; the communities of the region of Madungandi including Tiuarsicuá, and Guna communities of Colombia, such as Tanela and Arquía. The land area of the Tulenega Shire stretches from the province of Colon to the Gulf of Urabá, Colombia. The head of government of the region was generally exercised by a commissioner appointed by the central government. The law also recognized the Guna, as property owners of the Shire.
After separation of Panama in 1903, was completely unknown the Act of 1870, and also the territory of the former region, was divided de facto into two parts: the majority remained in the new Republic of Panama, while a small portion remained in Colombia.
The suspension of the region, banana concessions, the incursions of outsiders Guna village in search of gold, rubber, sea turtles and colonial police abuse caused great discontent among the natives and brought the February 25 of 1925, the Revolution Guna, led by Nele Kantule of the town of Ustupu and Ologintipipilele (Simral Colman) of Ailigandi. The Guna armed, attacked the police on the islands and Ugupseni Tupile, as they were accused of abuses and suppressing guna customs in several communities. The Guna proclaimed the independent Republic of Tule, separating from the central government of Panama for a few days.
The subsequent peace treaty established the commitment of the Government of Panama to protecting the customs of the Guna. The Guna, in turn, accepted the development of a formal school system in the islands. The police brigade would be expelled from their territory and all the prisoners released. The negotiations that ended the armed conflict constituted a first step towards establishing the autonomous status of the Guna and recovering the culture that was being lost.
Based on Article 5 of the Constitution of 1904, which says that the law allows for special political divisions for reasons of administrative convenience or public service, legislation on indigenous territories in Panama established the Guna District of San Blas in 1938 including areas of the provinces of Panamá and Colón. Its boundaries and administration were finalized by Act No. 16 of 1953.
Currently, according to the ruling of the Supreme Court of 23 March 2001, the region has a different political and administrative organization, independent of the Districts and Villages. The counties are governed by special institutions themselves, and by resolution of Division of the Supreme Court, on 6 December 2000, an institution is the consent of indigenous peoples who wish to develop projects in their territories.
Government and politicsEdit
The governmental structure of Guna Yala is defined in Law 16 of 1953. The General Congress Guna is the highest political authority of Yala Guna consists of representatives of all communities in Guna Yala and meets twice a year. Votes are taken by each sahila of the community.
The political subdivisions of Guna YalaEdit
Guna Yala is politically subdivided into four corregimientos (districts), with a total of 51 comunidades (communities), most of which are located on islands of the San Blas Archipelago off the mainland coast. They are listed from east to west:
Corregimiento de NarganaEdit
- Carti Mamidup
- Mandi Ubgigandup
- Narasgandup Dummar or Big Orange
- Narasgandup bipy or Orange Girl
- Carti Sugdupu
- Carti Mulatupu
- Carti Yandup
- Carti Tupile
- Mirya Ubgigandup or Soledad Miria
- Mormagedup or Machine Island
- Uargandup or Sugar River
- Yandup or Narganá
- Agwanusadup or Corazón de Jesús (Heart of Jesus)
- Digir or Isla Tigre
- Niadup or Ticantiquí
Corregimiento de AgligandiEdit
- Ugupa or large Playon
- Ugupseni or Playon Chico
- Dad Nagid Dupir or San Ignacio de Tupile
Corregimiento de DubwalaEdit
- Island Cuba
Corregimiento de Puerto ObaldíaEdit
The Guna District of Yala has an area of 2.306 km ². It consists of a narrow strip of land of 373-kilometre (232 mi) long on the east coast of Caribbean Panama, bordering the province of Darién and Colombia. An archipelago of 365 islands is around the coast, of which 50 are inhabited.
By boat, to go from the furthest southern point, Puerto Obaldia, to the most northern point, El Porvenir is a bit more than 100 miles.
The type of agriculture practiced in the district of Guna Yala is for subsistence purposes. Traditional products are bananas (now the Chinese banana), corn and sugar cane. Coconuts are also produced as a source of income.
The fishery is artisanal, usually using wire (line) or networks. Most fishing is for sale. The seafood is especially intended for sale, for which planes come daily to the islands. Especially sells lobster, crab (crab) and ultimately the squid and octopus.
The production of molas is the main activity of Guna women and is for many families the only or at least principal source of income.
In Guna Yala District there are tourist facilities. Most are small hotels for ecotourism. Most of them are in the field of Cartier, but there are also several in the township of Ailigandi.
Other sources of income are remittances from relatives working in the cities of Panama and Colon.
Customs and traditionsEdit
Among the most important traditions of the people mentioned Guna: "Ico-inna" or Feast of the needle than for a more accurate translation is the feast of puberty or what the Western world is known as the party or wedding. where a young girl after her first menstrual period is made a party where it pierces the septum of the pubescent female placing a ring with coconut oil as an antiseptic. In childhood between 4 and 5 takes place the ceremony of "inna-suit" or baptism is performed in the first haircut, which was attended by all the people in the community, she is assigned a name in the language Guna to the female. This name is next to the name given the country's official language. The Night festival or "inna-mutiki" is a party where all the people involved to celebrate a wedding or a new marriage in the village or community, this festival usually lasts for several days until the end of the whole liquor that has garnered the families.
The Guna District of Yala has a population of 31,557 inhabitants (2010), which shows a progressive decrease in the population.
The Guna Revolution refers to the events in 1925, in which the Guna Indians fought the ruling Panamanian authorities, who were attempting to force the Indians to adopt Hispanic culture by military action. During this revolution the Guna Yala territory seceded and operated as the short-lived Republic of Tule. Following mediation by the United States, the Guna re-united with Panama. The Gunas, with the support of the Panamanian government, created an autonomous territory called the Guna Yala district for the indigenous inhabitants which they would rule themselves.
During the first twenty years as an independent country of Panama, the Kuna had serious differences with national governments, because they tried to eradicate their culture, their customs and their disrespect indigenous authorities wanted to strip the land apart and were outraged by the governors and the colonial police (a settler to a native, is a non-Indian). This is linked to an incident on April 20, 1921, which was staged in the Heart of Jesus Narganá and Westernization movement for women, which was to change clothes, take away the gold ring of the nose, the plates high carat gold, beads, winks and coin necklaces worn ornaments. But a woman escaped and fled to Rio Narganá Sugar, from which it came. The police in retaliation remained imprisoned his children and his son, who was released to the outside to look. That day at Sugar River had an indigenous congress and there it was decided not to let the woman go, so the sahila on behalf of the community sent a message saying that the police were not looking for it. The police did not heed the message that night and sent a commission to Rio Colonial Sugar two police officers and three Indians. When trying to stop some of the male relatives of women, began the battle and killed three residents of the town, two Indian policemen and others were injured with machete wildly as they fled in a canoe. The bodies of the policemen were left in the water, tied to a stick in the sand enlcavado until they came to collect their families. The atmosphere remained tense until January 1925. Juan Demosthenes Arosemena was the governor of the province of Colon, and was concerned about the information he had supplied the mayor of San Blas, Andrés Mojica, on a course between the indigenous independence movement, so we decided to tell the Foreign Secretary Horacio F. Alfaro, to follow closely the actions of Americans: Anne Coope missionary and explorer Richard Oglesby Marsh. Just Marsh was the promoter of the "independence". On his return to Panama in January 1925, found a conflict between police and indigenous to explode, so he asked the U.S. military intervention in the Canal Zone, to exercise a protectorate, and wrote the Declaration of Independence and Tule people's human rights and Darién. Marsh was supported by the U.S. ambassador, who helped the Panamanian government signed a peace agreement that would guarantee human rights and political rights of gunas.
The situation worsened until February 12, 1925, in a conference held in Ailigandi Guna, where he met top leaders of 45 villages and tribes. The discussions lasted 26 days and decided to proclaim the Republic of Tule, and fixed territorial limits. This uprising came a flag, which was made by Waga Ebinkili (Mary Colman), granddaughter of Chief Simral Colman. It had a rectangular design with stripes. The center was yellow with the upper and lower stripes in red and with a figure swastika. On February 21, 10 days after the declaration of independence, in the midst of the Carnival indigenous revolution broke out that lasted until 27 February, which was led by Nele Gantule and the chief Colman. It is said that the insurgents were traveling in canoes from indigenous and Cartier Ailigandi the purpose of attacking the National Police headquarters in Playon Chico, Río Tigre, Tigantigí, Narganá, UGAP and elsewhere in the archipelago, and carried much of the police contingent. The toll was 27 dead. On 4 March, with the presence of the American minister, John G. South, was signed the peace agreement with the Indians and were promised a better deal respect for their customs, not to impose the establishment of schools, and were assured the same protection and rights enjoyed by other citizens. The Indians in turn, pledged to lay down their weapons, withdraw its declaration of independence and abide by the laws of Panama.
- Panama in figures: Years 2000-2004, The Statistics and Census of the Comptroller General of the Republic
- Baker, Christopher P. and Mingasson, Gilles. National Geographic Traveler: Panama. (2nd ed.) Washington, DC: National Geographic, 2011.
- Humphreys, Sara and Calvo, Raffa. The Rough Guide to Panama. London: Rough Guides, 2010.
- Lecumberry, Michel. San Blas: molas and Kuna traditions. (2nd ed., rev) [Panama]: Txango Publications, 2006.