Worlds apart: Panama’s indigenous and the Panama Papers


TOK TOPICS: Indigenous Knowledge systems and culture, Memory, Reason


Case description : The author with the current discussion of Panama Papers Scandal , explores –‘ What it means to be Indigenous in the Modern world?’ . According to the  International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs, in Panama  12.7 percent – around half a million people – of the total population are indigenous. A recent World Bank study on indigenous communities in Latin America found that they benefit less from economic growth in their countries and are more likely to be poor. However , the indigeneous people are offended by wealth judged by western standards.

TOK LINK: The indigenous Panamanians insist on a balance between protecting their traditions, sovereignty, biodiversity of their homeland and the modernity that comes hand in hand with a changing world. They value their own culture , language and close connection to nature rejecting the modern measures of wealth and success. Going along with the underlying philosophy, many indigenous people move to urban areas, mostly Panama City, in search of jobs and education.

Sample KQs:

Is Cultural Bias the primary reason for misunderstanding the issues concerning indigenous population?

Is it possible to balance Indigenous culture and philosophy along with living in the modern world ?