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Indigenous Studies (Latin America & Caribbean): Daniela Catrileo

Daniela Catrileo--San Bernardo, Santiago, Chile, 1987

The poet Daniela Catrileo is of the Mapuche nation and a child of the Mapuche diaspora from their ancestral homeland in southern Chile to Santiago and other cities in the north.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in education and works teaching philosophy as well as organizing literary workshops. She is a member of Rangiñtulewfü, or the Colectivo Mapuche Feminista (Mapuche Feminist Collective).  She has participated in various literary gatherings and contributed to several poetic anthologies, in addition to the publication of her other poetic works. In 2011 she was a grantee of the Fundación Pablo Neruda, and in both 2012 and 2016 received the Literary Creation Grant from the National Council of Culture and the Arts.  In 2018 she collaborated with filmmaker Rocío Chávez García and the professor Carolina Herrera Águila in the creation of a performative poetic piece titled “Mari pura warangka küla pataka mari meli: 18.314,” a series of public poetic acts named after the number of the 1984 anti-terrorist law translated into Mapudungun, the language of the Mapuche people.



Cada Vigilia (short work, 2007)

Niñas con palillos (co-authored, 2014)

Río Herido (1st edtion, 2013; 2nd edition, 2016)

Invertebrada (2017)

El territorio del viaje (short work, 2017)

Guerra Florida / Rayülechi malon (2018)



Multimedia Links

Information from Exhibit

The selections above come from the 2016 edition of her book Río Herido.  The title is based on her last name, Catrileo, a Hispanized version of the Mapuche words “catri lewfü,” which literally mean “wounded river,” or “río herido.”  The poems in the collection explore and interrogate the search for and reconstruction of a lost Mapuche identity following their migration to the north, using the river as a metaphor and symbol of that loss and of the Mapuche’s continued resistance to erasure and assimilation into Chilean society.

Text Selections

“No tengo más que un río”


Nacer del cemento

escribir con tinta roja en vez del río.

Robar su archipiélago

en la geometría de los blocks.


¿El río nos podrá salvar?


La hora río abajo

también es horizontal.




“Frente al enemigo”


Escucho el ritmo de olas

en su espalda

saltamos un par de veces

para no mojar el espacio

de rocas

para no llenar el blanco

de días

que se ahogan por el fuego.


Nunca dijo que corriéramos

para salvarnos.


Nuestro rostro de frente

ante balas.

Nuestros rugidos de frente

ante máquinas.


Nunca fueron olas.

English Translation

“I have nothing but a river”


Being born of cement

writing with red ink instead of with the river.

Stealing their archipelago

in the geometry of buildings.


Can the river save us?


Time downstream

is also horizontal.




“Facing the enemy”


I hear the rhythm of waves

at her back

we jump a couple of times

to not soak the space

of rocks

to not fill the gap

of days

that are drowned by fire.


She never told us to run

in order to save ourselves.


Our face, forward,

in the face of bullets.


Our bellowing, forward,

in the face of machines.


They never were waves.


Catrileo, Daniela.  Río herido.  Colección Canción Callejera, Edícola, 2016.

De la Fuente, Alvaro, et al. “Daniela Catrileo.” Escritores Indigenas,