The Origin of the Guna People of Panama (Video)

4 April 2018, 12:57 PM

(Spanish language) In this video, the granddaughter (the smallest girl in the whole group) of Sister Fany Ávila, former Global Counselor and representative of Mukua Cooperation Circle, tells the origin of the Guna People. We wanted to share this story.

By Adriana Reyes

The Guna (or Kuna) are an indigenous people located in Panama and Colombia. In Guna language, they call themselves dule, which means “person.” In the city of Panama, there is the Mujeres Kunas Artesanas (Mukua) Cooperation Circle, which belongs to the URI Latin America and the Caribbean Region, and is formed by indigenous Guna who work for a culture of peace and interreligious dialogue.

In recent years, Cooperation Circle members have reinforced their work with women, managing to empower them and pass on the art of making Molas (a traditional textile art form) from generation to generation. Molas are made entirely by hand, using several layers (usually 2 to 7) of different colors sewn together. The design is then formed by cutting different parts of each layer. The edges of the layers are then sewn. The finer Molas have an extremely fine stitching, and in these cases, very small and thin needles are used. Molas can take anywhere from a few weeks to six months to make, depending on the complexity of the design.

The Mukua Cooperation Circle has, as a project in development, a Mola Fabric School in which they teach girls and young people how to make Molas and other fabrics.

On Saturday, March 17, a group of Guna youth and children from the community (where the Mola Weaving School of Mukua Cooperation Circle works) that are dedicated to doing theater made a presentation. In this video, the granddaughter (the smallest girl in the whole group) of Sister Fany Ávila, former Global Counselor and representative of Mukua Cooperation Circle, tells the origin of the Guna People. We wanted to share this story.