Oswaldo DeLeón Kantule - "Achu"
Sobet - Artista Visual - Visual Artist


Dulegaya or the Kuna language is not a written language, and this means that its written forms may differ among authors who have not studied Kuna culture. For example, b, c, t, w may be written p, k, d, v respectively. Saila may be written Sakla, sayla o sahila.

Abya Yala: This is the name that the Kunas have given to the continents known as The Americas. Abya Yala is the saved territory, the preferred land, the land loved by Nana and Baba. In a more general sense it means Matured Land, Land of Blood.

Acualele: Smooth stone from the river used in Kuna therapy. It is also known as Acuanusa.

Baba y Nana: Father and Mother. In order to make the concept of Baba and Nana understandable to those who do not speak the Kuna language, their approximate equivalent in western culture would be supreme beings.

Bab Tummat: Great spirit, Great Father, creator.

Bab Igala: Road, path, trajectory, route of Baba and Nana. This is a complex concept that aims to describe Baba and Nana, the creation of the universe, and the definition of man and his role on the path and in the development of Mother Earth.

Birya / Pirya: Abyss, chaos, tornado, whirlpool, fountain -source of water which may be located in rivers and oceans and in the various layers of Mother Earth, inhabited by evil spirits such as large crocodiles and fish.

Burba: Spirit, soul, feeling, conscience.

Cocoa "Siagua": Cocoa is an important element in Kuna culture. Cocoa seeds are burned in ceramic vessels - the smoke being a purifying element.

Ibeler: The oldest of the eight brothers who make up the central characters in the history of the Kuna people. He symbolizes unity, cosmic equilibrium, the defence of Mother Earth and the liberation of the marginalized. He also represents the sun in Kuna mythology.

Ina: Traditional Kuna medicine. Specific plant with medicinal uses.

Inaduled: "Medicine man" - Person specialized in the use, treatment and therapy of medicinal plants, both preventative and curative. This person is often mistakenly called a botanical healer; the approximate translation could be Phytotherapist.

Kalu / Galu: A sacred place that should not be altered; it may be located in the mountains, in the ocean, in the river and below the earth´s surface. It is inhabited by good and evil spirits and the spirits of dead people.

Kilu Ulusui / The crocodile Kilu Ulusui, which literally means Uncle Long Canoe, symbolizes the transportation of evil spirits that cause illness. It is believed that this animal steals the spirits of human beings and for this reason they become sick. We consider this loss of the spirit to also mean loss of identity. This animal is represented in different ways: viewed from above or in profile, and is sometimes seen transporting the spirit of a sick person.

Mola: Traditional clothing or dress of Kuna women.

Muu: Grandmother, old woman, female elder. Also the Kuna word for Ocean.

Napguana: One of the names that Kunas give to Mother Earth. She is a Mother who offers an abundance of fruit and is empathetic and has an intimate relationship with the beings who inhabit her.

Nele: Man or woman with the quality of diagnosing illnesses and mediating the conflict between nature and man.

Nia: Evilness, badness, the demon.

Nuchu: Sacred Kuna object which is an anthropomorphic figure, carved out of different types of wood such as balsa wood, jagua wood, achiote and others. These figures protect and watch over the house of evil spirits, and they guide the Nele in his or her voyages to other levels of mother earth.

Olo: Gold

Olowaili: The sister of Ibeler. It was Ibeler, Olowaili and their seven brothers who fought for the benefit of Kuna life and culture. She represents harmony among human beings in Kuna mythology.

Palu Wala: Kuna symbolic concept based on the mythological story of the tree of salt or tree of cotton. The legend says that while the earth was being lashed by tornados and great environmental upset, in the highest boughs of the Tree of Salt was found a great bounty of food, sunlight, and tranquillity. Ibeler and his seven brothers and sister were responsible for cutting down the tree and allowing human beings to benefit from the bounty of the tree. It represents the system of oppression that the dispossessed suffer and the liberation that must result when the tree is cut down. On one hand it demonstrates egotism, gluttony, and some forces of betrayal and terror.

Saila: Traditional Kuna political and spiritual guide.

Sapibe Nega: State or stage where the origin of new creatures exist while they wait for their time to populate the universe. It is the first stage of man in the creation and before manifesting himself on earth, a state of invisibility of human beings before their manifestation on Napguana. It is the place in which each human being receives their particular gift which they will take with them when they are born.

Sick person "Uelemait" (Inna tuibekua, yaba kilakua) This is represented in different forms. The person may appear standing up, laying in a hammock or on the ground; sometimes the person is represented as a female and sometimes as a male and in different colours such as red, green and blue. In some paintings they appear with open arms and from their arms come a type of red rays as though they are have a fever or are radiating heat. They may be transported by a crocodile.

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