Stories, Myths, Chants, and Songs of the Kuna Indians
260 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
Copublished with The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
Sales Date: February 1, 2004
The Kuna Indians of Panama, probably best known for molas, their colorful appliqué blouses, also have a rich literary tradition of oral stories and performances. One of the largest indigenous groups in the South American tropics, the majority of them (about 70,000) reside in Kuna Yala, a string of island and mainland villages stretching along the Caribbean coast. It is here that Joel Sherzer lived among them, photographing and recording their verbal performances, which he feels are representative of the beauty, complexity, and diversity of the oral literary traditions of the indigenous peoples of Latin America.
This book is organized into three types of texts: humorous and moralistic stories; myths and magical chants; and women's songs. While quite different from one another, they share features characteristic of Kuna literature as a whole, including appreciation of their environment and a remarkable knowledge of their plants and animals; a belief in spirits as an important component of their world in curing, magic, and aesthetics; and, especially, great humor and a sense of play.
Vividly illustrated by a Kuna artist and accompanied by photographs that lend a sense of being present at the performances, the texts provide readers with a unique aesthetic perspective on this rich culture while preserving an endangered and valuable indigenous oral tradition.
This book is an ethnographic, folkloric, literary, and scholarly treasure.~The Journal of Latin American Anthropology
- Chapter 1. Introduction
- Part I. Humorous and Moralistic StoriesChapter 2. The One-Eyed Grandmother Told by Pedro Arias Chapter 3. The One-Eyed Grandmother Written and read by Hortenciano MartínezChapter 4. The Turtle Story Told by Chief NipakkinyaChapter 5. The Way of the Turtle Told by Pedro Arias
- Part II. Myths and Magical ChantsChapter 6. Counsel to the Way of the Devil Medicine Performed by Anselmo UrrutiaChapter 7. The Way of Cooling Off Performed by Pranki PilosChapter 8. The Way of the Rattlesnake Performed by OlowiktinappiChapter 9. The Way of Making Chicha Performed by MastaletatChapter 10. The Way of the Sea Turtle Performed by Tiowilikinya
- Part III. Women's SongsChapter 11. Chicha Song Performed by Justina Pineda CastrellanChapter 12. Three Kuna Lullabies Performed by Julieta Quijano, Brieta Quijano, and Donalda GarciaChapter 13. Counsel to a Parakeet Performed by Justina Pineda Castrellan