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GLOBAL VIBE: Emberá Tribe Panama



The Emberá , also known in the historical literature as the Chocóor Katío Indians are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. In the Emberá language, the word ẽberá can be used to mean person, man, or indigenous person, depending on the context in which it is used. There are approximately 33,000 people living in Panama and 50,000 in Colombia who identify as Emberá. The Embera live in villages, towns, or urban centers, many established Emberá communities are still found along riverbanks. The Embera eat mostly fish and plantains.


Embera express themselves through clothing to transform their bodies into art. They also embrace body decorations using fruit, paint, and jewelry.


Flutes, drums, turtle shells and other percussion instruments guide the movement of dancers in the Embera culture. People perform a variety of dances, most involving women only. Dances are performed during social gatherings, ceremonies and to welcome visitors in the village.


Today, the Emberá struggle with modernization and concepts of capitalism and market economy. The younger generation is going off to school and to the city to live and work, etc., their lives have inextricably changed and they have created more financial needs.


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