March 10, 2006

Latin American Symposium to Focus on Panamaniam Culture

The San Diego Museum of Man will continue its focus on Panama - and its 90th anniversary celebration - with the 13th Latin American Symposium, entitled “Defending Indigenous Lands, Languages and Culture.”

To be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 1, the symposium will feature a panel of distinguished scholars from throughout the country who give an overview of the native peoples of Panama.

According to Grace Johnson, the Museum of Man’s Curator of Latin American Ethnography, the speakers will focus on the Kuna, Emberá Wounaan, and Ngöbe - all indigenous to Panama - and their culture and art, traditions and history.

Held as part of the Museum’s ongoing 90th anniversary celebration, the Latin American Symposium also pays tribute to the Museum’s historic connection to the cultures of Panama.

The event is being held in tandem with the Museum’s current anniversary exhibitions, “Passage to Panama: Past to Present” and “The Art of Being Kuna: Layers of Meaning Among the Kuna of Panama” - both now open through April, 2006. The Museum, which opened in 1915 as part of the Panama-California Exhibition, opened the two Panama exhibits in August 2005.

“Passage to Panama,” a collection which documents the culture of the Embera and Wounaan from the Darien Rainforest, and the Ngöbe from the mountain areas of Chiriqui and Veraguas, was largely derived from the extensive collection of San Diegans William and Evelyn Phillips.

The Latin American Symposium is open to the public. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the program continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A wine and bocaditos reception will be held in the Museum immediately following the event, which is $55 for Museum members and students and $75 for non-members. All event proceeds support the Museum’s educational programs.

For more information call (619) 239-2001 or visit the Museum website at

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