Manuel Marquez, MD, shares his love of travel and history as a tour director and travel guide. Prior to entering his current profession, the Harvard graduate spent more than 25 years as a primary care physician, medical director, and executive officer with the Southern California Permanente Medical Group and Buenaventura Medical Group. Throughout his career, Dr. Manuel Marquez has supported numerous organizations, including Native Future, a group dedicated to the support of indigenous tribes in Panama.
Established in 2004, Native Future works alongside three indigenous groups – the Wounaan, the Ngabe, and the Bugle – with the goal of improving education and protecting land rights. In addition to preserving the cultures of these native peoples, the organization strives to ensure that the precious ecosystems on which they reside are not lost to exploitative industrialization.
The land rights initiatives established by Native Future have enabled the high school graduation of a Wounaan man, whose testimony aided in the approval of Panama Law 72 to protect native land. The organization has also helped the Wounaan people map their lands and document their protection efforts against clearcutting and other damaging practices.
Thanks in part to the assistance of Native Future, three Wounaan communities have received government-approved titles; six more are awaiting recognition.