10The Kuna Indians are Central America’s last unassimilated indigenous tribe.
11The Kuna Indians have stepped into modern times with both their culture and their political automony intact.They accomplished this by mounting a successful rebellion against the Panamanian government in 1925.
12The Kuna Indians govern themselves, and each village is autonomous The Kuna Indians govern themselves, and each village is autonomous. This is the meeting place for one Kuna village, where they gather to hear the stories and advice of the elders.
13There are various political parties among the Kuna Indians. Their government is a social democracy where each has rights to a voice in council.There are various political parties among the Kuna Indians.
14Las banderas representan partidos políticos (political parties) diferentes.
15Each person is expected to make their own way in Kuna society, but also to contribute to communal labor, such as farming a plot of land…
16…or preparing coconuts brought to the island by boat.
17For transportation, the Kuna indians use boats that they have made by digging out a single tree. These are used to transport water from the mainland to the islands.
18Many Kuna women make a living by creating molas.
19In fact, many women make more money than men by selling their hand-crafted molas.
44Molas take weeks to create. No two molas are the same!
45The quality of the mola is determined by factors such as: Number of layersFineness of stitchingEvenness and width of cutoutsAddition of details such as zigzag borders, lattice-work or embroideryGeneral artistic merit of the design and color combination.
46When Kuna women get tired of their molas (blouses), they typically disassemble them and sell them to collectors.
47When it comes to molas, second-hand is the best When it comes to molas, second-hand is the best! Authentic molas, and not ones created just for tourists, will show signs of wear, such as fading and stitch marks along the edges of the paneling.
48Mola-making has been a custom among the Kuna for more than a century, but has only recently become an important commodity for tourist trade.
49Tourism and molas provide a source of income for the Kuna, but also have an impact on their culture.
50In what ways could increased tourism among the Kuna impact their culture?
51How have molas served to both maintain and to threaten the cultural identity of the Kuna Indians?
52Create your own mola design using the following materials: Art ProjectCreate your own mola design using the following materials:8 ½ x 11 piece of poster boardYarnGlue
53Art ProjectLike the Kuna Indians’ designs, yours can represent the nature around you, an object from your everyday life, depict a political or pop culture theme, a geometric design, or a legend.