Wounaan in Panama

Photo Source:  Anonymous 
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People Name: Wounaan
Country: Panama
10/40 Window: No
Population: 8,900
World Population: 23,900
Primary Language: Woun Meu
Primary Religion: Christianity
Christian Adherents: 65.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.50 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: Yes
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: South American Indigenous
Affinity Bloc: Latin-Caribbean Americans
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

The Wounaan are one of the Embera peoples of Colombia, though a smaller number live in Panama. Their name means, “Good man” or “friendly people.”

What Are Their Lives Like?

Wounaan families fish together for the common good. They use nets and spears for their catch. This tribe finds valuable things in the forest to use and sell: nuts, fruits, wood, construction materials for their homes, medicines, ornaments and even gold. They are starting to cultivate farms for their food supply, and the land is owned by the community. Each Wounaan village has a church, a store, a school, a medical clinic and a meeting place.
Men wear a comfortable loincloth. Women wear skirts made from palm fibers, though colorful cloth is being introduced. Men and women both paint their bodies using a substance that lasts 10 days.
The Wounaan have special ceremonies for life events like births and when a child comes of age to be considered an adult. They celebrate with much singing, dancing and drinking a sugarcane based beverage. Their favorite instruments are drums and flutes. The destruction of their rainforest habitat threatens to drastically change their way of life.

What Are Their Beliefs?

They are Christianized, but their traditional beliefs are being reintroduced as being part of their culture.

What Are Their Needs?

The Wounaan need protection from outside forces that threaten to destroy their livelihood and way of life.

Prayer Points

Pray for the Lord to protect the Wounaan people from those who will abuse their land.
Pray for them to look to Jesus Christ for all their spiritual needs, forsaking all other gods.
Pray for Wounaan disciples to make more disciples.

Text Source:   Joshua Project