Oct. 6, 2020

By Alejandro Martínez

On October 6, Mapuche poet Elicura Chihuailaf Nahuelpan participated virtually from Wallmapu (Chile) as a guest speaker in the course “Spanish 250: Identity in the Hispanic World,” co-taught by Professor Christina Lee and graduate student Alejandro Martínez through the Collaborative Teaching Initiative.

Chihuailaf is one of the most important voices in contemporary Mapuche poetry, working both in Mapudungun and Spanish. He has published Recado Confidencial a los Chilenos (published in English as Message to Chileans), El invierno, su imagen, y otros poemas azules, De sueños azules y contrasueños, among many others. His work has been translated into dozens of languages. On September 1, 2020, he received the National Prize for Literature in Chile.

Elicura spoke to the students about Mapuche history and culture, the function of orality, what indigenous identities mean today in the territory called Latin America, and about the role that we play in the protection of Mother Earth and in the defense of indigenous rights.