The Kuna People

Guna/ Kuna from Rio Sidra
Guna/ Kuna woman from Nusadup - Rio Sidra

 The Kuna call themselves Dule/Tule or Guna. With approx. 60.000 members the Kuna represent the biggest indigenous group in Panama, the worldwide second smallest people after the pygmies populate the 360 islands in the San Blas archipelago and the narrow strip on the Caribbean coast of Panama and Columbia since mid of 19th century.


The Kuna call this region Kuna Yala, or Guna Yala – home of the Kuna.


While the Kuna who settled in Panama City often work as cooks or unskilled workers, the Kuna in the traditional communities are still engaged in agriculture, fishing, and trading with coconuts.


The biggest part of the financial power belongs to the women, who by selling their Molas are responsible for the main part of the family income.


That led to a further concentration of power in favour of the women in the traditionally matriarchic society.For example the belongings and property are always handed down from mother to daughter, husbands have to move in with their parents in law and the puberty ceremony of the young girls is one the most important social events in each community.


Another special feature is the highest rate of albinism. The pale skinned born Kuna are very special in the Kuna society and are often entrusted with political duties.

San Blas/ Comarca Guna Yala
The San Blas islands/ Comarca Guna Yala - home of the Kunas