Archiv der Kategorie: GESCHICHTE

Comarca „Naso Tjerdi“ celebration

Here is my gratulation letter to the Naso poeple on the acceptance of their homeland as a Comarca. As of now the Unesco World heritage site „La Amistad“ is under double protection.

„Miga Naso people, dear King and General Naso Coucil, miga Comarca Naso Tjerdi,

I congratulate you with profound happiness and excitement to the inauguration of the Comarca Naso Tjerdi. 

More than ten years ago, during one of my first visits into your homeland, I remember reading the word Naso Tjerdi for the first time written on a piece of carton. At that time I was part of a street blockage of the construction road leading to the hydroelectric water dam Bonyic.

Unfortunately I am not able to travel and come join you in the ceremony. I will be with you in spirit.

I also would like to congratulate the supreme justice court of the Republic of Panama for their decision. The honorable administrator Señor Reyes proclaimed you as indigenous people carriers of the sustainable usage of our natural resources and protectors of our biodiversity. This biodiversity, the different species of plants and animals, offers the stability to live on mother earth. Accordingly there is obligation to thank you and your ancestors for guarding this ground you call home on the banks of the Tjerdi. Your home is one of the largest and last intact wildlife refuges in the americas and the world. For this reason your homeland is a world natural heritage site.

The world outside of the comarcas and national parks looks quite different. Our way of living has caused serious problems to our own survival. We are dependent on the indigenous people. I wish that this great victory today, the result of your movement, is able to fortify your belief in your traditions and culture. The comarca does not have to take the same road than the civilization on the outside. I hope that our children will be able to breathe fresh air, to drink water out of the creeks and to pick fruits from the trees. We on the outside are cutting of the branch on which we are seated. People hear run to the supermarket to look for apples. A long time ago my home country Germany was covered with forests. The forest were cut until the people living in the cities called for a halt. Ever since that time the germans as a people are in love with their forest.

Many thanks to the organization Odesen, to Enrique, Antonio, Adolfo and Alejandrina, Eduin and Karina, Orlando and Leticia, Rafael for introducing me to the natural Naso world like it always has been subject of my dreams. I will never forget my first jungle walk with Antonio Sanchez to Loma Santa. Without you the forests appeared empty to me at first.

In the year 2014 we were able to execute project „Dbon Tjang Pjak Yo“, inventoring mammal species in the comarca. It was my intention to help in your fight for a Comarca. The tapir, who will be listed as critically endangered soon, lives out here. I remember a conversation in Sieykin where I was told that tapirs are plenty out there. Well here yes and in the Darien as well but in other parts it has vanished. I am fascinated by the story of Wayram, the great spirit of the tapir. Your fairy tale contains all the instructions to protect this species. It serves a good example of how to use your traditions navigating from here forward.

We were also able to film 6 species of felids, even the rare oncilla for the first time on low level forests here in panama. The curator of the Cologne Zoo and one of the most renowned cat experts, Dr. Alexander Sliwa knows of you and sends his gratulations. The great anteater expert and book author Lydia Möcklinghoff, who has always rallied for you here, sends her blessings. Greetings and hugs from my family and friends who have been able to visit with you. Last but not least the vice mayor of the city of Cologne has sent me video message for you.

For my part it is my vision to establish an ecological research center in the comarca, where students and scientists work with you. Conservation practices and actions always have to be tied to the development of living conditions in the communities. 

Remember that there is enough of everything and enough for everyone and that one cannot eat money. 

I leave you to celebrate with a german quote and song:

“Viel Glück und viel Segen auf all Deinen Wegen. Gesundheit und Frohsinn sei auch mit dabei.“ Lots of good fortune and many blessings on all your paths, may health and happiness be participating as well.

Count on my support always,


Naso – ein bedrohtes Volk in Quarantäne

Die etwa 3200 Naso leben in Zeiten von Corona in 11 Dörfern in Quarantäne. Es gibt keine Straßen vom Siedlungsgebiet in die Provinzhauptstadt Changuinola. Reisen per Boot in die Zivilisation sind in Zeiten von Corona untersagt. Im letzten Jahrhundert hatte bereits eine Tuberkulose Epidemie eine starke Reduktion der Bevölkerung verursacht. Um diese Situation zu vermeiden, erklärten sich die Naso damals bereit weiter flussabwärts näher an die Stadt Changuinola und damit auch in Erreichbarkeit von einer verbesserten medizinischen Versorgung zu ziehen.  Ein weitere Infektion der wenigen verblieben Angehörigen des Naso Volkes wäre für das Überleben des Volkes fatal. Die damals gesuchte Nähe hin zur Zivilisation ist jetzt demnach eher eine Gefahr für das Volk. Eine Stärkung der Subsistenzlandwirtschaft und autarken Selbstversorgung in den Naso Dörfern wie in dem Dbon Tjang Konzept vorgesehen sinnvoll.PHOTO-2020-04-22-17-17-49

#ich bleibe zu Hause #bleibt zu Hause

Teribe de Talamanca

Not only in Panama but also in Costa Rica the Teribe indigenious culture has survived. The name Teribe is derived form their river – the Tjerdi – as it is called in Naso language. Since the Spanish did not know how to pronounce it they called the river Teribe. Tjerdi is translated as river of the grandmother. The Naso language has survived in Panama. In Costa Rica it has been lost.  Here is an excerpt from the website of the Teribe Indigenious cultural association in Costa Rica:

The traditional language, Teribe, is only spoken by a handful of people in the community. However, the efforts to recover it are supported by the Teribe of Panama, another group that shares its culture and history with the Térraba of Costa Rica.(

The pictures below stem from an old book I found. It describes the indigenious people of the Talamanca Range, which is where the Teribe river springs.

Naso Tjerdi – a brief explanation of the Naso people

The River Teribe and its tropical rainforests have been the homeland of the indigenous tribe of the „Naso“ (Teribes). The river marks the central element of the Naso community spiritually and by means of transportation. The name Teribe is derived from the Naso word „Tjerdi“ which is translated as river of the grandmother. The indigenous tribe counts a population of about 3525 people and is the last monarchy of the Americas. The Naso currently live in 12 small villages, Santa Rosa (pop. 200), So Di (pop. 200), Bon Llik (pop. 500), Solon (pop. 400), Dwluy Llik (pop. 150), Kuy Kin (pop. 100), Shey Llik (pop. 500), Shey King (pop. 500), Loma Bandera (pop. 75), San Dluy (pop. 500) and San San (pop. 200). The Naso capital Siellik and the largest settlement Sieyik are positioned across from each other along the river Teribe from each. They mark the entry into old, abandoned settlements of their ancestors upstream and primary rainforest habitat. During the last centuries the Naso had moved their settlements further downstream closer to the province capital Changuinola. The ancient and traditional settlements further upstream such as Shublollik can be identified by river banks planted with banana and other agricultural plants. These areas today are frequently visited on foot and by boat for purposes of harvesting and limited fishing and hunting. The lack of roads to the heart of the Naso homeland has saved the Naso culture from diminishing into „latino“ culture and saved the rainforest habitat from logging, cattle farming, extensive tourism, industrial or residential development. Nevertheless their homeland is under pressure from cattle ranches, hydroelectric dams and the neighboring, expanding Ngobe Bugle tribe. The Nasos unlike other tribes in Panama do not have a Comarca (semi-autonomous territory). They have been seeking recognition of their homeland and have been applying for a Comarca over the past 40 years. Sieykin and 8 other Naso villages can only be reached by boat or walking rainforest trails.