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Dress and Culture of Cuna Indians is Subject of Talk Wednesday, September 30

September 25, 2009

HANCOCK, MI -Educator and collector Peter Hoheisel will conduct a presentation about the Cuna Indian culture and their traditional women's garment, the "mola," on Wednesday, September 30, at 1:30 p.m., at the Finlandia University Jutila Center campus in the Community Training Room.

The Cuna Indians currently live on the San Blas Islands, which are on the Caribbean side of the Isthmus of Panama. Their culture is one of pride and dignity.

Originally part of a blouse, molas are part of the traditional dress of the Cuna women. A mola is made using a reverse appliqué technique and consists of several layers of cloth sewn together with the bottom layer showing through to the top layer in a unique design.

Each mola is created by the woman who wears it, and generally takes two to three months to complete. The designs may be pictorial, geometric, and semi-abstract and often depict something from daily life, such as a bird, a fish, or an animal.

Hoheisel has collected hundreds of genuine molas and he will display some of them at his presentation. Molas will also be available for sale.

Hoheisel is chair of the religion and philosophy department at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, Texas. He lived in the Upper Peninsula from 1979 to 1989, working as a poet-in-residence at several area high schools and selling and presenting talks about the mola.

The Finlandia University Jutila Center campus is located at 200 Michigan Street, Hancock.

For additional information, please contact Denise Vandeville, dean of the Finlandia University International School of Design and Business, at 906-487-7379.