Kunas San Blas Islands

PANAMA

The Kuna of San Blas, known as Cuna when I visited in 1973, is a close-knit group of natives spread over 49 small islands on the northeast coast of Panama. They are a colorful custom-oriented culture that has managed to retain their ancestral way of life. Sheltered by their uniquely geographically isolation, they have balanced the trappings of civilization, and cleverly sustained their simple way of life. As a matriarchal society, they prize their daughters, and men marry into the subservience to the wife’s family and lineage. For some unknown reason, perhaps of the incestuous small gene pool, the kunas has the highest rate of albinism in the world.

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don't kiss goodbye