Though not persecuted, Guna albinos face another threat: the tropical sun that can cause them eye problems and skin cancers. More than half the region’s albinos suffer some form of skin cancer. According to Kuna legend, the albino people are called “moon children” and are given the responsibility of shooting arrows at the full moon. Since the moon controls the tide, and Kuna people live on small atolls, they’ve interpreted the presence of albinos as a gift from the gods to protect them from rising tides. Albinos were not always treated well by their fellow Guna. After Spain colonized the region, until the end of the 19th century, the Guna slaughtered their albinos in the misguided belief they were related to their European rulers. In some countries like Tanzania, albinos can be persecuted and killed as a symbol of bad luck, or witchcraft. But the Guna treat their albino children with love and respect.
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