Social Anthropology: The Kuna People: Kuna Art and the Art of Being Kuna
Kuna is the name of an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. The Kuna live in three politically autonomous „comarcas“ or reservations in Panama, and in a few small villages in Colombia, they are Panama‘s most well known ethnic group. There are also communities of Kuna people in Panama city, Colon, where I have been. Also they live in Kuna Yala - a string of island and mainland villages stretching along the Caribbean coast.1 The Kunas have inhabited the region of Panama for hundreds of years.
For some unknown reason, there is a high rate of albinism in the Kuna men. In Kuna mythology, Albinos were given a special place.2
The Kuna Albinos are considered a special race of people, and have the specific duty of defending the Moon against a "dragon" which tries to eat it on occasion...the Eclipse. Only they are allowed outside on the night of an Eclipse and use specially made bows and arrows to shoot down the dragon. In the 1920s, an American adventurer explored the Kuna area looking for the albino indians. Richard Marsh also helped organize the Tule Revolution of 1925. He wrote about his adventures in a book.3
Although encouraged not to marry, the albino men are accepted in the community and their work is respected by their peers.4…
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