First Guna Youth Congress


The First Guna Youth Congress, hosted by the community of Mammidub in Gunayala, took place with the participation of more than 100 young people

Approved by the General Congress in Uggubseni last year, this first youth meeting took place from August 24 th to 27th, and covered topics such as spirituality and the history of the Guna people from the beginning of time to the present, as well as their struggle in the defense of the territory. The Guna people are recognized for the protection of forests and marine biodiversity in their lands. Guna youth, knowing about these topics, issued several resolutions, among which is the creation of plans to teach history, as well as traditional medicine and the intention to participate in political development.

Gunayala has 51 communities, of which 49 are completely Guna with two non-indigenous communities. 38 communities are located on islands and 13 are located on the mainland, mostly in coastal areas. Only two communities are far from the coast at one and two hours walking.

Each community has a particular organizational structure, which is mostly based on the traditional system, which consists of a main Sagla, a leader who runs the community; and also a Argarmar who is the traditional spokesman and the Suwaribgan, people who are responsible for discipline and order in the community, especially in traditional singing ceremonies. Apart from these main figures the communities have different instances that are responsible for different community activities, the General Congress of Culture is the highest cultural and spiritual organism.

The six-day session of the Congress of Culture focuses on ceremonies of traditional songs and invocation to the creators, Babdummad and Nandummad. It guides and reinforces the community in regards to cultural, ethical and social values. During these sessions, the community leaders take the opportunity to discuss various aspects of cultural and social issues.

The following video, created by If Not Us, Then Who? shows part of the struggle of the Guna people in the protection of the forests and the sea that surrounds their homes in the islands.