The Guna or Kuna First Nation is composed of 51 communities stretched across 350 Islands in a territory 232 miles long and 130 square miles. The Guna First Nation is governed by two General Congresses. One General Congress takes care of all political and economic issues and the other General Congress cares for all spiritual and cultural issues.
The Guna First Nation declared their freedom from Panamanian Colonial rule on February 25, 1925. The Guna First Nation has continued to retain their language, culture, spirituality and autonomy since that time. The ancient Indigenous symbol on the Guna First Nation flag, sometimes called the "Circle of Life" or the "Whirling Logs", is found in Indigenous Nations across the Americas, including the Hopi and Yakima Nations in North America. The “Circle of Life” turns in the opposite direction of the Nazi Swastika.
Four Worlds International Institute’s Founder and CEO, Chief Phil Lane Jr., Ihanktonwan Dakota, Yankton Sioux Tribe and Chickasaw Nations, along with a Four Worlds Foundation Team, travelled to the Guna Community of Ustupu located in Guna Yala (San Blas Islands) in Panama this past February 22-26, 2014 to celebrate the 89th anniversary of the Kuna Nation’s revolution of Feb. 25, 1925. This annual celebration commemorates the prehistory and battles that Nele Kantule and other Guna leaders of the Revolution of 1925 fought against the Panamanian military that freed the Guna Yala territories from the oppressive, abusive and dictatorial rule of the Republic of Panama of that era.
For the first time in Guna history an Indigenous Spiritual Leader from outside Guna Yala was honored by the Community of Ustupu to lead the Annual March to celebrate the Anniversary of the February 25, 1925 Revolution, Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. of the Ihanktonwan Dakota, Yankton Sioux Tribe and Chickasaw Nation. This action of honor and respect of the Kuna First Nation is another reflection of the unfolding of the fulfillment of the Prophecy of the Reunion of the Condor and Eagle.
The Guna First Nation revolution celebrations included theatrical representations of the events that led up to the Revolution, meetings with important Guna political and spiritual leaders and sacred ceremonies. Four Worlds International Institute’s, Chairperson Chief Phil Lane Jr. also participated in the inauguration of the new school year at the Ustupu and Mostaupus middle school.
Another purpose of FWII’s visit was to present the Kuna leadership with a check of $8000 in support of the Ustupu community’s farmers in improving the mud swamped road to the community’s cacao and banana fields. Both provide basic cultural and food needs to the Guna Yala First Nations communities. This development will be undertaken through the volunteer labor of the young people of Ustupu guided by their Guna Elders.
To raise the additional funds to complete the funding for this project, The Four Worlds Foundation is supporting an internet Crowd Funding initiative to support this Ustupu Community volunteer effort! Many of these community economic enterprises are sustainable, but there is a lack of the infrastructure needed to maintain agricultural production at an optimal level. These infrastructure related projects are needed to preserve the autonomy of Guna Yala, including their mainland territories and jungle areas in harmony with their cultural and ancestral ways. The FWF and regional allies will continue to support the development of Guna agricultural projects in order to reduce dependency on imports and also create sustainable livelihoods for Guna Families and their communities.
Other meetings where held to support the creation of an Indigenous Education Program for Drug Prevention and a Restorative Justice Program to treat minor crimes using Guna Indigenous Law, Traditional Medicine and Spirituality as an option to punishment-based Corrections Models. Most current punishment- based Correctional Institutions cause further problems for Indigenous Communities.
For instance, growing interaction with Colombia and Panama are bringing social problems to the Guna Yala, via the cocaine trade, that could be treated within Guna communities, through a process of Restorative justice. Restorative justice that will not expose Guna Yala community members to a Panamanian Prison System that is based in punishment. Indigenous Peoples, within these punitive, systems learn more how to be a better criminal than how they may return to their families and communities in a healthy and good way!