Panama: First Indigenous Poetry Anthology, A Weapon of Struggle

Source: TeleSUR
16 November 2015

panama indigenous people.jpgIndigenous writers and poets hope the new anthology will prompt Panama’s Culture Ministry to allocate more funds to preserve indigenous heritage. | Photo: EFE

The new anthology contains ode to revolutions, ancestors and heroes, lands and struggles.

Using art as a way to reclaim their identity

The first anthology of indigenous poetry was launched in Panama on Sunday in what the authors say is using art as a way to reclaim their identity and redefine Panama.

In a country where well-over 90 percent of the indigenous population lives in conditions of poverty or extreme poverty, the “First Anthology of Indigenous Poetry” is seen as part of a larger struggle for dignity and cultural survival, according to the poets.

“For us it is very important to preserve culture, identity, the struggle for the land, territory, natural resources. All of this is very important to us. This is why we have to mention it in everything; be it in poetry, in oratory, drawings, paintings,” Mani Gueuigdinapi, the book’s editor told HispanTV.

Odes to revolutions, ancestors and heroes

As such, the anthology contains odes to revolutions, ancestors and heroes, land and struggles authored by 14 different poets from the Indigenous Guna and Ngäbe-Buglé communities.

ANALYSIS: Dignifying the Indigenous Figure through Performing Arts

“Never has there been a compilation of so many poets like this. It is important for the history of Panama, and it is important for Guna youth to see that they also have poets,” said writer and poet Aristides Turpana.

Indigenous heritage

Meanwhile, the indigenous writers and poets hope the book launch can turn into an opportunity to push Panama’s Culture Ministry to allocate more funds to preserve and diffuse its indigenous heritage.

Panama’s indigenous populations have historically been displaced from their lands and subjected to conditions of mass poverty as a result of systemic racism. In 2010, a U.N. report said that “the persistence of racial discrimination and its historical causes have led to the marginalization, poverty and vulnerability of Afro-Panamanians and Indigenous peoples,” adding that “there is no general provision prohibiting discrimination based on race or the criminalization of acts of racial discrimination.”

Source: Panama: First Indigenous Poetry Anthology, A Weapon of Struggle

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