Cuna - Settlements

In the communities of the mainland the traditional pattern of settlement is along the rivers. The dwellings are not clustered, but separated. Generally, there is a short path between the house and the river. The settlements are surrounded by clear-cut jungle; agricultural fields are distant from the houses. In the islands of San Blas, communities are physically organized like towns, cut by streets, and the dwellings of the Indians are adjacent. The towns of the San Blas Islands have schools, stores, health posts, and one or more congress houses, where the Cuna hold political and ceremonial meetings. These congress houses also exist in mainland communities. The difference in settlement patterns corresponds to diverse trends of intensity in the process of modernization. The mainland localities are not situated near main thoroughfares as in the islands, and they are far from large cities. Arquia and Caimán, in Darién, for example, are surrounded by jungle; however, a road from Turbo to Necocli crosses the community of Caimán.

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