Kuna - Settlements

Today most Kuna villages are located in four distinct areas. Most are situated in the comarca of San Blas. Three others are near the headwaters of the Río Bayano, and seven are located along the Río Chucunaque near a hydroelectric dam; all ten are in the Darién jungle. A few small communities can be found in Colombia. Kuna also live in Panama City and Colón and a few live abroad.

In San Blas, island communities are crowded; there is scant space between the houses, which are constructed of locally produced materials. The Kuna live in large matrilocal households composed of senior couples, their married daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and in-married, subordinate sons-in-law. Households usually span three or four generations. Generally, the compound includes a kitchen and one or more sleeping houses. Most Kuna sleep in hammocks, which are strung from the supporting beams of the house. Clothes are draped over bamboo poles suspended from the rafters or are stored in wooden or cardboard boxes. Most houses have bamboo walls and thatched roofs, but some Kuna have built two-story cement houses with corrugated-metal roofs. These structures often house a store, in addition to providing living space.

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