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Indigenous Panamanians compete in ancestral games

| Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, 12:39 p.m.
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Guna indigenous women compete in the tug-of-war during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Indigenous people from the four most important ethnic groups in Panama participated for two days to select the athletes that will represent Panama in the upcoming World Indigenous Peoples Games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Guna indigenous women compete in the tug-of-war during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Indigenous people from the four most important ethnic groups in Panama participated for two days to select the athletes that will represent Panama in the upcoming World Indigenous Peoples Games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Ngabe Bugle indigenous people dance during the opening of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. At night, the groups intermingled to share dance and music traditions. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Ngabe Bugle indigenous people dance during the opening of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. At night, the groups intermingled to share dance and music traditions. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, men run during 100 meters athletics competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. These games were held in the Embera town of Piriati, some 55 miles (90 kilometers) east of Panama City. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, men run during 100 meters athletics competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. These games were held in the Embera town of Piriati, some 55 miles (90 kilometers) east of Panama City. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an arrow pierces a target during the bow and arrow competition on the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The bows and arrows uses in archery competitions are hand made. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an arrow pierces a target during the bow and arrow competition on the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The bows and arrows uses in archery competitions are hand made. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an injured Guna woman is aid by her teammates after the tug-of-war competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Events such as archery, swimming, wrestling and running are also a part of the games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an injured Guna woman is aid by her teammates after the tug-of-war competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Events such as archery, swimming, wrestling and running are also a part of the games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, indigenous women compete in the canoe race during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. For two days, more than 100 competitors from the main indigenous groups of Panama, Guna, Embera, Ngabe Bugle, converged for the second time to celebrate their ancestral games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, indigenous women compete in the canoe race during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. For two days, more than 100 competitors from the main indigenous groups of Panama, Guna, Embera, Ngabe Bugle, converged for the second time to celebrate their ancestral games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man takes part in the bow and arrow competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Panama attended the first World Indigenous Peoples Games in Brazil in 2015 and participated in the next one in Canada in 2017. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man takes part in the bow and arrow competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Panama attended the first World Indigenous Peoples Games in Brazil in 2015 and participated in the next one in Canada in 2017. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera man sits on a wooden dugout canoe during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. The games began with swimming and boating in Lake Bayano. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera man sits on a wooden dugout canoe during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. The games began with swimming and boating in Lake Bayano. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, two Guna indigenous men row in the dugout canoe competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. Lake Bayano is one of the main reservoirs in Panama. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, two Guna indigenous men row in the dugout canoe competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on Lake Bayano, Panama. Lake Bayano is one of the main reservoirs in Panama. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man takes part in the spear throwing competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Embera are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man takes part in the spear throwing competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Embera are an indigenous people of Panama and Colombia. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man poses for a photo during during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. He stained his arms and face with black ink extracted from a mountainous fruit. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, an Embera indigenous man poses for a photo during during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. He stained his arms and face with black ink extracted from a mountainous fruit. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a group of Guna women sit on the field during a penalty shootout in the women's soccer competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Guna women won the match and advanced to the semifinal and won the championship. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a group of Guna women sit on the field during a penalty shootout in the women's soccer competition of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Guna women won the match and advanced to the semifinal and won the championship. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this photo Nov. 25, 2018 photo, fishing canoes are tied together at a dock on Lake Bayano as the men watch the dugout canoe race of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. Indigenous people fish and motor in the lake on any given day, transporting goods from one side to the other. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this photo Nov. 25, 2018 photo, fishing canoes are tied together at a dock on Lake Bayano as the men watch the dugout canoe race of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. Indigenous people fish and motor in the lake on any given day, transporting goods from one side to the other. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, a man runs in the 10 K competition as Ngabe-Bugle women look on during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The winner of the race will participate in the World Indigenous Games where over 30 countries and more than 2000 athletes participate. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, a man runs in the 10 K competition as Ngabe-Bugle women look on during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The winner of the race will participate in the World Indigenous Games where over 30 countries and more than 2000 athletes participate. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a group of children play tug-of-war away from the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a group of children play tug-of-war away from the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Ngabe-Bugle indigenous women support their women's soccer team during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Ngabe-Bugle is the largest and most populous of Panama's three Indigenous regions. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Ngabe-Bugle indigenous women support their women's soccer team during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. Ngabe-Bugle is the largest and most populous of Panama's three Indigenous regions. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, a group of Ngabe-Bugle women take photos during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. For two days, more than 100 competitors from the main indigenous groups of Panama, Guna, Embera, Ngabe-Bugle, converged for the second time to celebrate their ancestral games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, a group of Ngabe-Bugle women take photos during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. For two days, more than 100 competitors from the main indigenous groups of Panama, Guna, Embera, Ngabe-Bugle, converged for the second time to celebrate their ancestral games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Embera indigenous men participate in the tug-of-war competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Embera won the tug-of-war competition. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, Embera indigenous men participate in the tug-of-war competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. The Embera won the tug-of-war competition. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, indigenous men finish the swimming competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. In terms of surface area, Lake Bayano is the second largest lake in Panama, exceeded only by Lake Gatun. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, indigenous men finish the swimming competition during the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. In terms of surface area, Lake Bayano is the second largest lake in Panama, exceeded only by Lake Gatun. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an Ngabe-Bugle indigenous man wearing his traditional dress waits for his turn in the bow and arrow competition, on the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. These games drew athletes who will represent Panama in the third edition of the World Indigenous Peoples Games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 26, 2018 photo, an Ngabe-Bugle indigenous man wearing his traditional dress waits for his turn in the bow and arrow competition, on the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games in Piriati, Panama. These games drew athletes who will represent Panama in the third edition of the World Indigenous Peoples Games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a Guna woman competes in the swimming event of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. Sixty athletes were selected to compete in the upcoming world indigenous games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)
In this Nov. 25, 2018 photo, a Guna woman competes in the swimming event of the second edition of the Panamanian indigenous games on lake Bayano, Panama. Sixty athletes were selected to compete in the upcoming world indigenous games. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PIRIATI, Panama (AP) — Some brought bows and arrows to show off shooting skills. Others came to demonstrate their strength, endurance or ability to pull heavy ropes or to paddle small wooden dugout canoes.

The women wore brightly hued dresses in red, orange, green and purple, with hand-embroidered details. Men stained their arms and faces with black ink extracted from a mountainous fruit. Some wore loin cloths with intricate beaded geometric designs, and strings of yet more beads crisscrossing their chests.

For two days, more than 100 competitors from the main indigenous groups of Panama — the Guna, Embera and Ngabe-Bugle — converged for the second time to celebrate their ancestral games.

“Everyone has to show dexterity, their tradition, their dance, their behavior,” said Eduardo Lopez, a member of the Guna community and coordinator of the games.

At night, the groups intermingled to share dance and music traditions. Drums beat. Flutes vibrated.

These games held in the Embera town of Piriati, some 55 miles (90 kilometers) east of the capital, drew athletes who will represent Panama in the third edition of the World Indigenous Peoples Games, which may be held in New Zealand, Colombia or another country with a large indigenous community.

Panama attended the first world competition in Brazil in 2015 and participated in the next one in Canada in 2017.

The games in Piriati began with swimming and boating in Lake Bayano, one of the main reservoirs in Panama. Indigenous people fish and motor in the lake on any given day, transporting goods from one side to the other.

For Rigoberto Palacio, a 32-year-old Ngabe-Bugle man from a mountainous village in the Caribbean province of Bocas del Toro, the games represent a way to “rescue, value and enhance” the daily activities of his ancestors. From an early age, Palacio says, he has used bow and arrow to scare away or kill animals such as snakes in his village. He hand-carved the bow he uses in archery competitions.

By JUAN ZAMORANO, Associated Press

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