Emberá Ella Puru (I)

Posted by Alfredo J. Martiz J. (Panama City, Panama) on 21 December 2009 in People & Portrait.

This portrait is from a visit to the Emberá Ella Puru community, located adjacent to Soberanía National Park and close to Camino de Cruces, on the banks of Río Chagres.
Emberá are Indigenous People who live in Darién, a region that borders with Colombia, at the east of Panama. The Ella Puru community is originally from Darién, but a group of them moved to the region of Río Chagres, near Gamboa, probably in the 50's, at the times of US military occupancy in Panama. According to one member of the community, some of the Ella Puru people helped the US military by training them in jungle survival skills.

"For trekking in the jungle, many indigenous men around the world choose to wear a loincloth which only covers the genitals. It's simplicity has long been likened to primitivism by missionaries and westerners when in fact it is a very practical piece of clothing for tropical jungle environments. Pants and long shirts soaked with mud and water are heavy and burdensome and they facilitate skin problems such as rashes and infections. The loincloth or taparabo as it is known in Panama, is still worn regularly by a few elders and on special occasions by most male villagers. The Waounan people call them guayuco and Embera call it anelia. Due to influence from the church and modern Latino society, most villagers have traded their loincloths for pants or shorts."

Reference: The Embera and Waounan Indigenous People of Panama and Colombia

Río Chagres, Panamá. December 20th, 2009

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Nikon D70s
1/400 second
ISO 200
39 mm (35mm equiv.)


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