Introduction, selection and translation from Spanish © Sue Patricia Haglund
Texts by Gunadule authors © Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule,
© Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza,
© Cebaldo Inawinapi De León,
© Atencio López,
© Kinyapiler Johnson González, and
© Maninaindi R. Roldan. G
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To be Gunadule is to be Gunayala and to be Abiayala/Abya Yala
Baba and Nana are supreme beings, our creators. Abiayala/Abya Yala, known as saved territory and land of blood, is also as our brother, Dad Neba Nelson de León Kantule says, Abiayala/Abya Yala represents spaces “of fullness." Abia - blood It comes from the dulegaya language, dule language or also known as guna or Gunadule Abe/Ablis is blood – and the word, Yala-land, mountain, continent, territory. blood land; spilled blood and life blood. Abiayala/Abya Yala is solidarity and collective, with collective solidarity we are similar to the earth, a land of fullness and life, To understand the depth of Abiayala/Abya Yala, it is more than the four stages of the evolution of our worlds, it is the memories of our stories of Babigala, of Baba and Nana, of Ibeler and his siblings, they are stories of chaos and unification, of Biler and Ibeler, therefore, for us Dules, it is about relational positionalities. Abiayala/Abya Yala exists. It is not about ‘the Americas’. It is more. Abiayala/Abya Yala, has always been alive and present. Abiayala/Abya Yala is the evolution of development with collective solidarity, not the chaos of destruction, because as in the words of our brother, Marden Paniza, Gunadule musician and composer, it is to remind us that mer burgwega anmar namagge “we sing to not die” and in these we sing. Anmar di, we are water Anmar yala, we are land and mountains Anmar ari, we are iguana Anmar achu, we are jaguar Anmar yaug, we are turtle Anmar bansus, we are hummingbird Anmar Abiayala We are land of blood Land of spilled blood, blood of life We are a land of fullness And we don't lack anything Itogua.
Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule*
Indigenous peoples, development and Environment
After the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, it was a historic event for indigenous peoples and their rights in relation to the environment, where it recognized the indigenous peoples and their communities to the care of mother earth that they have been doing and the use of the environment. The importance of traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples was recognized and the international community (states) committed to promote, strengthen and protect the rights, knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and their communities. Indigenous peoples continue to be targeted by those who promote alleged developments with globalizing plans, which in the long run further harm our precarious living conditions. All this happens in a convulsed world, where internal wars or wars between states are becoming a habit. In the same way, wars between the powerful (transnational companies) are reasons for the displacement of indigenous peoples in subhuman conditions, when they discover minerals, when they want to build hydroelectric plants and others, in our territories. (There are plenty of examples in Abya Yala (Abiyala), (America), the case of the Kuna of Mudungandi, in Panama, the Bayano hydroelectric plant, and the construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric plant. Talking about development for the Indigenous Peoples does not only mean talking about investments and cooperation brought from abroad, it means, first of all, the recognition of their culture and traditions, which also involves respect for the ancestral technology with which our Peoples have survived. Faced with this reality of the great changes mentioned, we indigenous peoples face these challenges and we have to prepare for those to come, without renouncing our roots or the principles that our ancestors bequeathed to us. Taking up the teachings of the great sages of our history, our identity, adapting them to the reality of the present, to project into the future. It is time for the indigenous peoples to plant their own model, based on our organizational dynamics, with political, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, territorial and autonomy approaches, in short, the claim of our specific and collective rights, based on solidarity, equity, historically underestimated by the Uagas (non-indigenous). We are not against development, we want development and remain indigenous. What we do not share and we do not agree with are the impositions of the Western development model, which have proven to be inoperative, outdated, which have caused ruptures and considerable damage to our political and social structures of our peoples. These models imposed on our peoples, migrations, changes weaken our cultural identity. The Uagas (non-indigenous) will always see the indigenous peoples as an obstacle, a barrier to development. The indigenous peoples, in general, have a long experience in the management of natural resources, since we have lived since time immemorial in direct contact with nature, obtaining from it the necessary benefactors to satisfy our needs. Even though they have not defined the concept of sustainable development, they have been putting it into practice for many years. Indigenous peoples have lost much of their territories in the name of development, and are at risk of further losing ancestral lands and sacred places, many of which contain the richest biodiversity in the world. Governments that have joined the Convention on Biological Diversity have an obligation to enact domestic laws or amend their constitutions to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and sustainable use of their environment. I wonder what forests, what biodiversity do our countries sell or negotiate to redeem their foreign debt? We have rich forests, minerals, fresh water, seas, if we sell everything today, tomorrow we will also be poor and we will not have them to bequeath to our future generations, therefore we cannot say whether to make any investment thinking about today's hunger. We indigenous people are going to accept investments in our region without any problem, as long as the investors are honest people and want to share the profits with us, those who do not make our brothers work so as not to pay them later... those who do not hide behind the politicians in power to insult an indigenous culture, those who have the patience of the indigenous authorities in the negotiations. We are aware of the wealth we possess, but the world does not end tomorrow and there will come other relatives of ours who will thank us for not having exhausted everything at once of what our Napguana (Mother Earth) bequeathed to us, mother of all development if we love and preserve it, or simply from human misfortunes, if as their children we do not know how to respect them. All the demands of our peoples are fair and legal in light of international and national laws, agreements, treaties and other instruments that speak about the rights of indigenous peoples. We can mention a concrete example with the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, art. 32. Paragraph 2. The States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent before approving any project that affects their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, use or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources. But the full recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples is not given clearly in all countries. For this reason, true recognition and not only on paper or laws, is the essential starting point to change along the path towards full development. Which means that we indigenous peoples have the full capacity to carry out our own development and that we are given this opportunity. We only ask for the opportunity to at least be given to chart and choose our own destiny, based on our principles and cultural values, which have so far proven to be valid in our communities. The main characteristic of indigenous peoples, unlike Western society, is that social systems are based on help, mutual protection, brotherhood and solidarity. That they do not need to be written in voluminous codes that in the end are not fulfilled, it is in daily practice that our people make it a reality, it is our way of life. Both the social, political, economic and spiritual aspects of life are vitally linked forming a unity. For all that has been said above, I continue to maintain the principle of my Kuna teachers, for our parents, naskued (development) means producing the land and learning traditional knowledge for the benefit of all and not of a few, not to be rich individually, but to share it with everyone. This value has kept us going despite the many changes that are happening in indigenous society. The Kuna cultural identity is still alive, will continue to be alive, as long as our peoples live together. The strength of our culture has persisted throughout history; the entry of some imposed models in the region has changed some things in our communities, and even so, it has not been able to change our being, we will continue to be Kuna. This path is essential, considering the active participation of indigenous peoples, such as the Ngäbe, Kunas, Emberás, Nasos, Wounaan, Buglé, Bri-bris people. Thus the participation of women, youth, the elderly and others. Whose contribution will allow the construction of a more solid, harmonious, and representative legal basis, the result of which will be a fairer and more balanced society, in the same way, the political will and tolerance of all the actors, to understand and accept the existence of this diversity of peoples. indigenous in Panama. For peaceful coexistence and the construction of a true democratic society, it is essential to recognize and give value to the existence of indigenous peoples with their different values and interests, as well as to respect and tolerate those historical values and interests that distinguish us from others. Logically, a mere moral recognition is not enough; in a country like Panama, where different cultures coexist, it must be reflected in its legislation, in the constitution. There should not be a group that imposes its own norms and values of conduct and behavior on others.
* Dad Neba: In the Kuna indigenous language, it means, "Grandfather of the Plain", with that name identifies Nelson De León Kantule, Kuna indigenous communicator / Director of the Napguana Association. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza
I want to talk about the strokes of my body From the traces where I come from From the source that drives my starting point Of my first spiral line of my heritage as an indigenous woman of my rebellion, my nahua and my mola of the courage that runs in my veins from Grandma Carmen and Mom Let the strokes penetrate my body talk about heritage and our footprints From sisters Bertha and Marielle let me scream and love I want to trace my body again and again drink from the inna* feel the holy river get tangled up again in my strokes plot and plot until starting with the end point, like spiral *inna: corn juice, drink
El Luna 1925 and Wewe
Another night, one of those nights Of love where cries are whispered sadness, tears and more tears They shake and shake the sweat Wewe*, try to flap the humidity And with basil in their mouth gives peace of mind stop so cruel action, outrage and rape. Their wings flap And they calm the pulse ears try to hear forget, that one Crescent moon Their eyes when sinking give the message the voice that comes from their wings soothe the soul, brother moon, whisper to Wewe Let's sing *wewe: variety of small cricket that abounds along the coasts; sand flea.
Cebaldo Inawinapi De León
1 An Di! An Di! Water we are. Water we will be! In a Kuna village a girl is born, and the midwife sings, the grandmother sings, they sing: We come from the water and with the water. Born from the fertile liquid of the placenta, which will later be fertilizer and will be sown (placenta and umbilical cord) in generous land, blessed by rain. The girl grows up. One day, her body tells her that life is fruitful and for several days, the women of the village will bathe her daily in a surba –a sacred house made of leaves, words and a lot of love-, water and her and the words of the accomplices. and her desires and her dreams traveling through this sacred territory: her body! Water and Word, tattooing puberty! The woman goes to the final journey, the poet sings to her of her days and nights, and she receives the perfumed bath of flowers and plants and the last journey will be in the river of her youthful loves and planted in the generous forest... and she begins to navigate the sacred river that will guide her to the final Matria. Water we are! The Greater Poet sings Water we will be! The village sings. A fruitful liquid brings us - in loving waters we love and create - and in a generous liquid we travel to the Final House!
2 Our Great Poets sing that a fine and magical thread unites, sews the waters of the rivers, the seas, the trees, the forest, the earth and its inhabitants, building a great network, balancing and harmonizing the sounds, colors and the fruits of the earth. We are all One! Song and art that our greatest creators, the Kuna women, have understood in a wonderful way, when they sew their dresses, their molas with colored fabrics where they tattoo their dreams, their desires, their stories and charms that come out of the left side of their chest and glide to the tips of the fingers. And they continue it today, in these urgent times, their children, their grandchildren…harmonizing sounds, colors and dissonant things. It is part of the larger network, of the universal fabric, balancing sounds, colors and flavors, and if one day part of the network breaks, we must quickly fix it, sew it, so that we can continue walking and rocking in this Universal Hammock, our Great House, Earth.
3 who orders the time? It is not the clock, it is the Word, it is the Language (I know I read it in some enchanted page of a beautiful book or in a song in some marine village) and it takes me on this urgent flight, to my days in the Big House, in the marine village, when the Great Poet, the Sagla sings and counts the days of the village, of the tribe, of the Earth, because what inhabits and tattoos us is the time of speech, of words, of enjoyment, of the verb...reinventing worlds, word by word, creating magic...! Degiii!
I try to look clouds and birds at sunset, but I couldn't. my eyes blinded delve further into childhood memories they won't come back happy existence in their laps my future was formed my hope. Today, of my life defoliate flowers, dreams, petting to accompany me forever. From the beach, sea, I feel that something turns off I go around the world carrying love, hearts and about them I have to sleep cry. I feel love but it overwhelms me deep sadness I hope the tears wash away that bitterness and may dawn by your side making love…
GENOCIDE IN ABYA YALA
Nothing to celebrate October 12th start date to genocide ever written in the history of mankind. One hundred million human beings led to the stakes slaughtered and killed in the name of god and the bible. Kings of Spain believing saviors of the world inundated with human scum our continent human garbage that wanted to delete indigenous history. From graves, forests, rivers, seas and lakes the slaughtered face of grandmothers and grandfathers they emerged to sully Western pride, European pride Abya Yala writes her own history with an indigenous face to the sound of the cry of Liberty…
With music from ancient times to the sound of flutes and maracas I come drunk among fish ocean smell I bring before your altar algae and flowers that I pulled out from the bottom of the sea, I want to cry in your arms And take your aromas and tenderness to other worlds where I can tell love stories born on islands and beaches under the raging sea and a harsh sun. Love of tanned faces by saltpeter and starry nights, loves, memories and legacies of our warrior ancestors.
Kinyapiler Johnson González
IT WAS IN ARINII (*)
Suddenly the rhythms of troupes are heard, the tunas**, going up the street and down the street; slippery ones come out on any street, signal that the carnivals have arrived in Bannaba (1). While, in the spirited and seductive Caribbean, on the islands of the Tule Republic, with pride the flags of the revolution are hoisted; is the month of Morginnid e iba (2) is arinii. I have my red cotton shirt, the urigan (3) are painted “enraged achiote”; the fangs and hearts of jaguars, the claws and beaks of eagles came together. The uprooted molas were stained with blood that day, rings and winis (4) prohibited and scattered throughout the archipelago. Forbidden to forget that date, tattooed on our hearts. The jars of gabir (5) kicked and broken, the braziers extinguished by boots, the forbidden rituals, split hammocks… Never forget us companions, that this country cost us blood and it was not a gift from any government. Alert, alert brothers, Gabidamalargeee... (6) Today the jars of the revolution are fermented on each island, to toast peace to the heat of the totumas de gabir. Today like yesterday we share that joy together with our people, because our eternal young warriors of 1925 planted their old hunting shotguns with a single shot, but accurate as Igwaoginyabbiler's arrows, the archer of the best marksmanship, brother Venus; so that today his children and grandchildren can enjoy and enjoy what we have... ¡Noggasdde, iddomalando, sioggooooo…nagase! (7) Let's shout and toast with our grandmothers and mothers.
* arinii = iguana moon (month of February) ** the tunas = groups of people with song and music who dance in the streets with a drum ; dance and other instruments during the Panamanian carnival. 1. Morginnid e iba = Red Shirt Month 2. kuna warriors 3. beads 4. strong fermented drink 5. do not sleep 6. Kuna Toast: We have the gourd, let’s try, cheers…bottom’s up!
“Iawala ganaggwa agdededi yalabali,
Dada Nagibelele bega ulusumba sie nasaye,
nue daggedi yalabali yee…”
(Inicio del verso de Aggwanusa adaptado por mí, en el original dice “Pato Diolele”, donde digo: “Dada Nagibelele”
y en parte me inspiro en ese tratado de Aggwanusa,
está dedicada a alguien muy especial).
Iawala gwenaddiye, bedi an idusad nega sagla unni; andi bese gormaggenai, be gammu ganse be ulusumba billinganba. Inaulu dagge yobi bedi maigudeye, gwena benunis nalleguemaisuli; nii ulu obaggemaid ilaba nega duubali. Nana Olonubdiigili, be ordiidina aryomegisa, ber gungidagge yobi; agddarmaggemai be ana gandi. Nana Maninubdiigili, be maninisdii suurmaggemai, ber maniale ber manidaggeyobi. Nana Inanubdiigili, be inadii wawadiggi ber inabisebdili yobi; goggedili, nunabdili bunnogemainie. Nana Igwanubdiigili; be ganngued, be sabed anga ugge; bargaegala be nunis maniga sademalad. Be inaulu wawanmaggemai nie; suemola bedi yoemai, be burba, Nan burba mogir inbaba. Oloeaidiili be suggedi dinnaguemai, anmar nuggi, gwenad an be daggsuli; anai dii emi be ibagi, an bega soge Anna Diianai.
Big brother river, you who are before me since the beginning of time; I invoke you, to your tributaries to your subterranean origins. You who cross like a great medicinal canoe, giving away your milk to everyone in each trip of the moon in its canoe through the sky. Mother Olonubdiigili, your golden liquids they travel, and fall radiant as gold on their way; in your shining tributaries. Mother Maninubdiigili, your silver liquids They run and shine like silver like argentas on the road. Mother Inanubdiigili, your fragrant medicinal waters such as essences of basil; breaths of goggedili, nunabdili. Mother Igwanubdiigili; give me your strength and your love; to stop the merchants who profit from your milk. Your trembling medicinal canoe is; with a rainbow mola outfit, your strength, spirit of the Mother among the clouds. Oloeaidiili your stream is drying up, because of us, I no longer see you as a sister; My friend water today, I tell you Anna Diianai (hello friend water).
is the full moon
on your moon,
it’s your smile
in my sadness,
in my sunset,
poetry is the blossoming
of the dilla at dawnby dillanii… *
* dilla [dil´la] in Kuna (language) is palo santo plant, and dillani [dil´lanii] is the palo santo moon or the month of March.
Poetry is the delicate
Kuna woman’s hands
that transform the threads and fabrics
in multicolored verses in their molas
at sunset in Kuna Yala.
And in her early mornings
her calloused hands lift the hot pans
to prepare breakfast
to the future slingshot rebels,
heirs of February 25.
Maninaindi R. Roldan. G
The universe and their hugs manifest in designs in black symbols in alchemical forms. There are hidden truths in its geometry / lines that join us The recipient skin of legacies serves as a fragile canvas where they rest from their long journeys. It is in it that they live/migrate/mutate they return to being simple cosmic lines.
Next to my memory you are
You are the force that sustains my struggles The hug that protects me from strangers Your old war is today my shield / My award Your flag ⎯symbol of rebellion and courage⎯ is my spear That's why I thank you dear grandfather who inhabits my memory That's why I thank you dear grandmother for your sacrifice Today as children of February we fight to deserve your name To rock the Matria that so many of us love I wave the flag of rebellion of the sacrifice and life
We have the season of the hummingbird. A season of sighs. A season of echoes and nostalgia. Of jar and song. And in that space where time sings you are the point of this hour the minute in the cloud.
About the Gunadule Authors
Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule is a Gunadule essayist, scholar, and activist. His name, Dad Neba, in the Kuna indigenous language, means, “Grandfather of the Plain”, with that name identifies Nelson De León Kantule, great grandson of Nele Kantule, Kuna indigenous communicator / Director of the Napguana Association. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza is a Gunadule activist, poet and scholar. Taira graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Education with a Post-graduate degree in Higher Teaching. She is a member and activist of the Kuna Youth Movement (MJK) and other international indigenous organizations. She went to Bolivia to study for her master’s degree at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés and works at the Office of Indigenous Peoples at the University of Panama.
Cebaldo Inawinapi De León is an author, artist, poet, and Gunadule anthropologist born on the Island of Usdub, Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama. Inawinapi lives between Portugal and Panama and is the author of the book My First Tree: An Sabbi Iduged (2019). He is also the protagonist in the film, Panquiaco, and is part of the documentary, LucíaMor: La Mola de Lucía. Learn more about Inawinapi here.
Atencio López is Gunadule from the Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama. He is an author, poet, and attorney for Indigenous, Commercial, Criminal, and Civil Law. He studied at the Faculty of Law and Politics at the University of Panama and obtained his Master’s Degree in Commercial Law at the Universidad Interamericana de Panamá. For several years, Atencio has held various positions in Panamanian and international indigenous organizations. Learn more about Atencio here.
Kinyapiler Johnson González is a Gunadule poet, artist, and cultural activist. He was born on the island of Usdub, Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama. He studied at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Panama. In addition, Kinyapiler served as administrator of the Guna General Congress on a few occasions, is a member and activist of the Kuna Youth Movement (MJK), and a founding member of the Ibeler Wagan Theater Collective.
Maninaindi R. Roldan. G. is a Gunadule poet, artist, and psychologist born on the island of Usdub, Gunayala, Panama. He studied at the University of Panama and has a degree in psychology. As an artist, he participated together with the Igar Yala Collective in the making of the film Burwa Dii Ebo (The wind and the water), an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2008. He is the author of the book, Demonios en mi desierto (2019).
For more about Gunadule art and literature
- “The Guna mola preceded pop art”, Achu Kantule
- Cebaldo Inawinapi De León’s website: https://www.inawinapi.com
- Atencio Lopez’s Writings, http://amanecerindigena.blogspot.com/
- Dad Neba Nelson de León Kantule, one of the founders of Panama’s first digital radio station, “Radio Voces Originarias Panamá” https://www.vocesoriginariaspanama.org/
- Writings of Aiban Wagua, http://www.aibanwagua.org/
- Blog about the writings (2014) of sociologist Juan Pérez Archibold, https://juanperezarchibold.blogspot.com/
- “Chocolate Woman Dreams The Milky Way”, Monique Mójica
More about Sue Patricia Haglund
She is a Gunadule poet and scholar from Panama and the U.S., and holds a PhD in Indigenous Politics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She researches the works of contemporary Gunadule poets whose poetry reflect the cultural metamorphosis of the actualized transformation of Gunadule oral tradition and poetry that speak against colonialism and empire. Her poem, “Conversaciones con mi abuelo,” was published in the first anthology of Gunadule poetry, Antología de Poetas Kunas (Panama City, 2015), and she has published several book chapters in edited volumes, including Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Technology, and Social Networks in Mexico and Central America (2019).
A selection of contemporary Gunadule literature © Sue Patricia Haglund ~ Siwar Mayu, May 2022