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Native American Nations in Central America: Groups, Arts and Culture

Updated on March 5, 2013

Central American Nations

(Photos on this page public domain.)
(Photos on this page public domain.)

Central America

Central America includes the countries of Belize, Costa, Rica, El Salvadore, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.


Mestizos are the Metis known elsewhere - Europeans mixed in with indigenous peoples. They make up about half of the population of Belize. The Maya make up another 7%. The Garifuna migrated to Belize in the 1800s from St. Vincent and the Grenadines and mixed with African, Carib Indians, and the Arawak tribe to make up another 5%. Thus, Indigenous peoples comprise a little over 60% of the residents of Belize.


Many of the indigenous peoples of Guatemala are all from the Mayans. Other groups are Xinca and Garífuna. Mayan comprise 40% of the population.


The Miskito Native Central Americans live from Cape Cameron Rio Grande, Nicaragua, along the Miskito Coast. Their language is Miskito, but they speak Miskito creole English, Spanish, Rama, and others languages. Miskitos intermarried with slaves. There community was ruled by a king that shared his power with a a governor, a general, and an admiral.

Costa Rica

About 94% of the country is Mestizo and 1% Amerindian.


The Kuna Indians of Panama are famous for colorful dresses, including the mola. The mola a reverse appliqué made of layers of fabric stitched to reveal different colors in blouse panels.


Nocturnal by Irik Limnio


The twelve spirits of the earth say

That you didn't cry on the day they birthed you

In their home you roamed in the protuberances of the brilliant stars.

They say you walked secretly

And you melted into the pale plants which appeared before your gaze.


The woman who gave birth to you says that the clouds

Arranged themselves in your glory just for the lament

And humans complain to you that they have had a terrifying dream.

Night, it seems to me that you undulate, pitted with the little eyes of the cherubs who shine continually.

I think you are a Nocturnal like the one I have in the depths of my being.

Kuna People

Kuna Indigenous Woman.
Kuna Indigenous Woman. | Source

Kuna Arts and Culture


About 90% of Honduran populations are Mestizo. Another 7% are members of 7 recognized indigenous groups called The Confederation of Autochthonous Peoples of Honduras (CONPAH), including

  • The Grafuna;
  • The Ch'orti', Mayans in the northwest close to Guatemala;
  • The Garifuna speaking a Carib language along the entire Caribbean coastline and the Bay Islands;
  • The Pech or Paya in a small area in the Olancho department;
  • The Tolupan (Jicaque, Xicaque, or Tol), in the Department of Yoro and in Montaña de la Flor and the Department of Yoro;
  • The Lenca in the Valle and Choluteca departments;
  • The Miskito on the northeast coast along Nicaragua's border.

El Salvador

El Salvador is 89 % Mestizo and 10 % Amerindian. The original peoples were Pipil and Lenca.


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    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 9 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      So hows the rest of your book coming along??? You just have to put all of these Hubs together into a book. These are just so well explained articles.

      Good one again Patty

      regards Zsuzsy

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Hi Z!!  How are you?

      Well, it will take about a year just to update all my resources, since this is from college notes and recetn fact-checking. LOL I think an online Directory, virtual book would be better. Jimmythejock sparked that idea in my mind. :)

    • gabriella05 profile image

      gabriella05 9 years ago from Oldham

      Another great hub Patty Fantastic knowledge

      Thank you

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Thank you very much. I studied Indigenous Pepoles all around the globe in college and have kept up with research and notes for several years.

    • profile image

      Abhinaya 9 years ago

      Patty is this the last of this series?I think I missed out the last one.I was teaching my kid about North and South America last month and learned a lot about the races and relief features.It was great fun.I think you need to publish a book on this honestly.Thanks for sharing so much of information.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 9 years ago from North America

      Abhinaya, there will be several more in this series, yet! I am glad you and your child are enjoying these.

    • profile image

      Lose Belly Fat Fast 7 years ago

      Great hub there! Can I call you "wikipedia"?? :P

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      No no, - not wiki. :) Thanks for reading!

    • profile image

      Maria  6 years ago

      I am interested in my country culture and history and recently while i was doing this report for my country I read something but still never got o know the exact information. but i would like to know if People from Nicaragua in any way are Native Americans?????

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 6 years ago from North America

      In your Internet and local libraries, look up the Miskito people of Nicaragua. They are at least one of the Indigenous Peoples found in your country and there may be others now or in the past. We sometimes refer to these Indigenous ones as Native Central Americans.

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