Tobacco Blood. Javier Jayali

Sangre de tabaco © Javier Jayali. Común presencia, 2023
Tobacco Blood © Lorrie Lowenfield Jayne

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Javier Jayali is originally from Cota (Kundurmarka, Colombia). He is a writer and an educator of literature and orality. He studied Literature at the National University of Colombia. For years, he directed the creative writing workshop Tejedores de historias (Story Weavers) at the Public Library of Cota, from which he published the poetic anthologies Cota se cuenta en copla (2020), Cuerpos y palabras (2021) and Senderos, resiliencias y otros espejos (2022.) Since 2018, he coordinates Fiba we, a research and pedagogy traditional lodge for community practices. He is the founder of the Cota Literature Network (2020-2023), as well as the Andean music collective Sikuris del Majuy (2018-2023.) He is a farmer, cultural organizer, and community leader. The following poems were selected from his book Sangre de Tabaco, a unique volume in the recent literature produced in Bakatá/Bogotá, the fertile valley of the condors, the ancestral Muisca territory.

Kusmuy (House of Thought)

everything has its place and desire
its movement and word
in the house of thought.
all has its story, its pattern
its purge for life and a right to silence.
Everything has its limit too
invincible aloneness, confusion
impossible understanding.
Somewhere someone seeks
reconciliation and a place,
common lineage in the countryside
a lane on the path and the nearness of the hillside.
Someone seeks to exist
seeks their spiritual name
their fish or worm clan
and a sense of their abyss.
Someone seeks a home for their visions
a divining rod for their intuition.
Everything seeks the secret forge
to display their courtship
and their shroud,
the feverish balm
to dance their first dance,
the fertile corner
to share isolation.

There is an open door
the wood spreads out its arms
and the homefire beats like the tongue of a drum:
Welcome, welcome,
to this chink in the finite
though standing so alone
a straw peaked roof on stilts
has been for many dreams
a compendium of the cosmos
a breviary of the dawn
and a library of fires.
The house of thought is open.

Hoska (Rapé)

Be calm
tobacco carries the hummingbird spirit
comes close with its sifted song and pow-
dery feather.
Crosses your nostrils like a gust and aurora
brings present
–echo, buzz–
the beat of its wings pollinates the mind.
Runs through the brain
tames the voices
who lie in wait like angels
and the past eases
and the future awaits.
From its emptiness a crevice greens.
The body feels its own time,

Walking Seated

The tree trunk
my ancestor
whose dream is a place
to go forward sitting.

With my body seated
and my mind walking
I am a a vein of the tree
an appendix of the earth.
And I am
with poporo
with mochila and sash
and spindle in my hand
–and without these things–
with a brilliant breast
collecting stars and silences.

I am also
with my splintered glance
legs bound with veins
tongue forged
with a wrinkled sadness
and fury;
I am upon a ceremonial stool
(an extension of flesh)
heart seated deeply
blood flowing
in front of a fire.

Whole or in pieces
everything and all am I
if I have space to speak
to confide or be silent
strike a chord or call out
because I have body and place
my soul, a seat.

I am, perhaps,
–upon a cosmic stool for musing
drawing on tobacco
telling a tale
or suffering–
vestige of the tree
action springing from thought.


For a long time he tended
a rotten fire
at his walls
a flaming tuber
death sun
that devours amygdalas
and aborts the wind.
within the bloodstained veins
the word
the pyrite word
the obsidian word
the magma word.
The word?
–timid, teimid, tamid–
a fossil preserved
in volcanic urns.
He waited a long time
like a star
that burns as it dies
and as it dies, it names.
In this way the forest birthed the word,
unconscious, crestfallen.
The gorge
was once crater,
laid out and defeated
to whom the hummingbird
offered tobacco seed, tobacco dust
medicine from air
balm from the word.

Flames of fire
now blanket the volcano.

Canopy of Birds

I have in my vertebrae
a canopy filled with birds
who nest and forage
whose songs are presences,
lucid or terrible.

They later throng to my breast
sometimes all of them
sometimes none
and these ones,
these who don’t emerge
who do not migrate through the veins,
or are more like fruits of the tree,
or abstracts,
they also sicken.

Suspended in air
many have died
tremulous with hope;
some others persisted
their feathers turn to air
their latency, idea.

Always, they hope
that from my mouth will stretch forth
the ancient heavenly vine
that binds time to the world;
perhaps a question, a response,
a page and a pen,
a couplet,
a whistle from the wooden flute.
The juices from the coca and tobacco
show the way and free them..

The Rock of Confession

On the mountain, first and foremost, permission
with a barefoot soul, without notions imposed.
I offer yarn and corn husks, I remember the path.
I seek the rock of confession.
I speak with her:
like the primate who only recently descended from the tree
but also like the spores on the fern.
And I come again, as I have come before
I come to surrender, to feed the mountains
and return to the world weightless.
I want to descend lighter,
walking seated, with an empty mochila,
I return.

The andean chameleon glides between the cracks.
The highland eagle passes before the rock.

Fire Dream

Dreaming displays
of those things that have not yet happened
of that which has not yet been
and yet exists.

Smoke seems like
the fire’s dream,
the fire dreams.
He dreams of an open house
of hands spread with sandy clay
of ears of corn
and owls
and Andean colored flags at dusk.

If there are words, the fire rests.
If silence, he dances.

The questions seem to be
the dream of thought,
Thought dreams:
“Which dream do I need?
The tall flame that kindles or frees?
The medium flame that observes and contains
or that slow one that gives out?
The ember that subdues yearning to lethargy
or that one there that calms the suns at the dying of night?

smoke embraces the rays of light.
The fire dreams
the dream of the ancient one:
“another existence exists.“


The sowing season arrives
and the seed falls from the water.
The fist of the universe opens
the rain returns with its outstretched palm.
We put on the plumage of birds
and wait to be born anew.
The sun will wait for us
as it highlights its eternal analemma.
We will be there
and we will know that we’ve said what we never wanted
to say
that we have been unjust with the living
that we have postponed the postponed
that we have seen the river paved over
that our eyes are worn out-diminished.

We have waited for the new sun.
The day lasts as long as the night
and the awakening as long as our fears.
We will make a cosmic contract
and a sowing of purpose:
we’ll ask the voices in our minds to rest
give ourselves time and discipline
consume what is necessary.
We will sink our hands in the ground.
We’ll make an offering.
The equinox sun will watch us be born.


The cord and the placenta
that some sowed and buried
that were robbed from us or that we lost
becomes visible with the thread in our hands
a thread that creates its history of itself
like the ring of a tree
like the myth
like the story of country folk.

The threads and color
knot together
to make a mochila
weave the visible
the memories and the tangible.
Moving inward they weave emptiness
space and form
the invisible:
a grave in the earth
memory to remember
and a query:
What do you want to carry and how much can you bear?
to go through the world
without origin?
The mochila is a placenta
united to its umbilical cord.

For more about Javier Jayali 

About the translator

Lorrie Jayne, a collaborator in Siwar Mayu, teaches Spanish, Portuguese, and Personal Narrative in the Languages and Literatures Department at the University of North Carolina Asheville (USA). She lives with her husband and daughters in the Appalachian Mountains where she enjoys plants, people, and poetry.

Sangre de tabaco © Javier Jayali ~ Siwar Mayu, December 2023

Tobacco Blood © Lorrie Jayne

The Memory of Plants in Three Poems of Gloria Mendoza Borda

Dulce naranja dulce luna © Gloria Mendoza Borda

Introduction, selection and translation from Spanish © Andrea Echeverría

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Gloria Mendoza Borda (1948) is a renowned Peruvian poet from Puno who currently resides in Arequipa. She joined the Carlos Oquendo de Amat Group in the 1960s and has published Wilayar (1971), Los grillos tomaron tu cimbre (1972), Lugares que tus ojos ignoran (1985), El legendario lobo (1997), La danza de las balsas (1998), Dulce naranja dulce luna (2001), Mujer, mapa de música (2004), Q’antati deshojando margaritas (2006), Desde la montaña grito tu nombre(2013), Amtasiña (2013), and Mi abuela, mi patria (2018). In the three poems below, included in Dulce naranja dulce luna (2001), Mendoza represents how plants communicate their memory. Three of them: the cherry tree, the avocado tree and the honeysuckle. These texts provide an ecological vision based on Quechua-Aymara forms of knowledge that transcend the anthropocentric perspective. To initially approach these poems, perhaps the best thing to do is to ask yourself: what do these plants communicate? What vision do they convey about the passage of time? What forms part of their memory? I invite you to read these poems within the historical framework of the political violence that affected all of Peru, and especially provincial cities and rural communities in Peru during the Conflicto Armado Interno (1980-2000). As you will notice, these plants cry and suffer the passage of time, nostalgically remember the past, and communicate their experience about traumatic episodes that happened in this context.


The Cries of the Cherry Tree

I am the old cherry tree

who saw them grow

as artists

I also knew how to be an artist

I also knew how to be a river

phosphorescent birds

would stay in my currents  

they made nests with dazzling weeds 

and they sang to life

my roots

keep moving forward

through the underground

I cry in the name of mother earth

in the skin of the boys


the desolation of the courtyard

I cry

on the posters

that they hung

on my mutilated arms

“Protest against the Cherry Tree’s Death”

I cry

because I don’t know the reason

why did they destroy my branches

I cry

in the name of the white doves

(those who came from the Plaza Mayor

they will no longer be able to shelter from the sun

under my shade)

I cry

because the sound of the boys’ pan flutes and guitars

stayed in me

they played in my lap

during the sunsets


I exist 

in our memory

I exist

I am the invisible cherry tree

that keeps them company

my fruits used to adorn

girls’ heads

that took shelter

in my skirts

why did the ax become enraged

with my silence?

from my invisible image

I predict life

I light the fire

my currents grow

I also feel bird 

I also feel man

I also feel artist

I also feel river.

Listen to Gloria Mendoza reading her poetry in Spanish

Looking for the Avocado’s Path

In these times

I did not bear fruit

it’s true

but my leafy green inspired

announced a time of hope

I tried to get closer to the sky

I walked more than a hundred years


towards the immensity

I flourished on the cliffs of silence

only the trace of my forms remained

the semi-destroyed sculpture

looking for my lost path

and the dismayed look

of my friends

I am the result

of changes and death.

The Honeysuckle’s Agony

Mother and lady


I cry my green agony

drunken my flower


the morning 

I scream

I implore

they don’t listen to me

I sing in the language of the green


and weak

my skin 

in other times

my fruit was honey

as a child

the sculptor Jorge Mendoza

took one of my branches

and soon

ran with my scent

looking for his mother

I was born

before all of you

‘the house of art’

came later

in my roots

lives the story

of men

that passed through

and left

I still exist

a cable

covers my fingers

crosses my feet

I hope the crows

don’t eat my leaves

in each contour

of my path

there is a wire

at each knot

I break and twist

I look at the blue sky

the song of birds

accompany my green symphony

wild dance

my heart

the wound

it won’t let me walk

a terrifying shadow

covers my eyes

from the sun

A white dove

drinks water

in the pool

in the well

the mirror

of my image

the water

doesn’t reach

my insides

I’m hung

from the throat













without truce

oh perfection

I cry my green

from so much spiraling

death stalks me

but does not find me

here I am friends




silent witness

youthful dreams

students go on strike

for struggles and triumphs

for permanent creation

for happiness


I cry

my green agony




For more about Gloria Mendoza

About the translator

Andrea Echeverría Langsdorf is an Associate Professor at Wake Forest University. She earned her doctoral degree in Latin American Literature and Cultural Studies at Georgetown University. She is the author of Yeyipun en la ciudad. Representación ritual y memoria en la poesía mapuche (Editorial Universidad de Guadalajara, 2021) and El despertar de los awquis: migración y utopía en la poesía de Boris Espezúa y Gloria Mendoza (Paracaídas Editores & UNMSM, 2016), as well as of several academic articles published in journals such as Latin American and Caribbean Ethnic Studies, Latin American Research Review and the Canadian Journal of Hispanic Studies. She is currently working on a book that studies Mapuche visual art.

Dulce naranja dulce luna © Gloria Mendoza Borda

~ Siwar Mayu, October 2023

Introduction, selection and translation © Andrea Echeverría

Ponca Lunch Hour Poems – Cliff Taylor

Ponca Lunch Hour Poems © Cliff Taylor

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Unforgettable characters, enlightened by random revelations, cross the coffeeshop, the sidewalk, the freeway while Cliff Taylor records them through narrative-verses and laughter in his Ponca Lunch Hour Poems zine. In the first page of this zine, hand written, we read:

I wrote these poems in the Spring of 2019, after my girlfriends and I moved to Astoria, Oregon.  Some I wrote at work, some at the coffee shop before work, some in Tokyo, some while traveling back. I am a Ponca Indian so a lot of them are about my tribe, our people, how we see and experience the world. I am also into comic books, horror movies, and just everything to do with art: so expect to find some of that in here too. I would love for some of these poems to become your friends on an unexpected day or night as you’re busy doing your thing or taking a well-deserved break. I hope you like them.

Thanks, Cliff. 


It took us three months and a total of two cars to 

drive across the country and move from New Orleans 

to Astoria, Oregon, a city neither of us had ever 

actually been before. It was epic, unforgettable, 

exhausting. Our second day here, while I was on 

the sidewalk outside the coffee shop smoking, a big 

tattooed dude walked up to me and asked, surprising 

me like birdshit in my eye, “Your name wouldn’t 

happen to be Cliff would it?” i rocked back; how 

could anyone here know me, let alone this guy?

Then I flashed: I remembered this guy from high 

school, he was a classmate, a punker and skateboarder, 

20 years ago back in Columbus, Nebraska. “Ken?”

I asked back. “Ken —?” It was him; he owned 

the three stool walk-up noodle shop two doors

down from the coffee shop. Having not crossed  

paths in 20 years, he recognized me. I pointed 

to our packed car and told him that we’d just moved 

here, yesterday. “Welcome to Astoria,” he said, 

friendly as I remembered, “This is maybe one of 

the most beautiful places in the country. Glad you’re 

Here.” We talked and smoked and I was kind of stunned, 

dazed, transported into the surreal nature of the mystery 

of why we’d come here, to Astoria, this place we’d never 

been before. My ancient past had sent a messenger 

to welcome us to our freshest chapter, to shake our 

hand in the middle of this great unknown. For the 

rest of the day I was speechless with the magic of it 

all, a cheetah wandering a woodsy wonderland, an 

Indian in full regalia on Ray Bradbury’s sweet Mars. 

We’d been delivered to the right stretch of earth;

We were drinking our coffee right where we were 

meant to. Miraculously, we’d arrived.


Cliff Senior

I wish I remembered more stories 

from my grandpa (who doesn’t, I guess).

My mom would often comment on how 

he talked so quietly you could barely

hear him. My little brother spent 

more time with him that I did, as he lived with him for awhile when 

he got out of juvenile detention; he 

has some good stories and they’re 

all new to me. Sometimes at my 

gas station Indians I didn’t know 

would come in, learn who I was, 

and tell me stories about my 

grandpa’s house back in the day;

“There was always a big pot of 

soup on,” they’d say; “He was 

always feeding everyone who stopped 

in”. I remember visiting him on 

my way up to Sundance, hanging 

out with him in his bedroom 

when he was on oxygen. He sat 

up and lit himself a cigarette, 

handed me one when I asked for 

One. He was on his way out; this 

was the kind of smoke you couldn’t 

regret. “So what are they gonna 

do, pierce your nipples?” he asked.

Yeah, something like that,” I 

said, smiling. I wonder what 

story my grandpa would share 

if he heard me read this poem. 

I wonder what he would share 

if he could only share just 

one. Grandpa? You’re up. 


I talk with this elder who has diagrammed, 

mapped, and database every earth-mound in 

America. It’s staggering. There are shapes 

of every imaginable variety. It’s been his 

 life’s work. He hands me the zip drive with 

everything on it. “It’s yours now,” he says. 

“When I was young I was told that this 

was my calling. When I got old they told 

me that it would be the next person’s calling 

to know what to do with it.” I drive along 

the coast with my two dogs, heading towards 

a thunderbird’s mound in Oregon; its eye 

is a somewhat well-known mountaintop. 

“I guess it’s our turn now,” I tell the dogs, 

ocean visible through the open window. 

“Let’s go see what this thunderbird has 

to say.” 

Signals and cages in the Seattle Art Museum

I had just hopped off the Greyhound 

and, walking around, I bumped into 

the Seattle Art Museum and saw that 

there was Indigenous exhibit.

I wandered in, began to ascend the 

Stairs. Then, like an out-of-the-

blue gunshot in the YMCA, I was 

hit by this grief of the spirits, brought

to the verge of tears. I kept it 

together, proceeded forward, went 

into the exhibit. A few minutes 

in I heard the spirits tell me to 

sing a song for all the spirits that 

were boxed inside this place, 

enmeshed with the displayed objects 

and unseen. I was young, too nervous 

to upset all of the interested browsing 

that was going on; I was asked but 

not strong enough to do so. I saw 

the living shamans’ rattles, ornate 

paraphernalia and utensils, big hides 

and pots that were so potently 

not inanimate. Half of me was a museum-goer, 

half of me was a Sundancer seeing everything 

with ceremony eyes. When I left 

I thought, Someday I’ll write about this.

Wandering aimlessly down the street, 

I thought, People should know what 

Indians experience when they encounter 

their stuff still being held hostage. 

We took him back to our place so he could shower

This was in Standing Rock when all the shit 

was going on. He tells us about all sorts 

of stuff that I don’t think most anybody 

would believe. Prophecy. A multi-dimensional 

 coded mythology. What he was told on the 

hill. His grandma feeding little people who 

came to her windowsill. A cave in the Andes 

where leaders from all over the Western Hemisphere 

deposited objects for a future Age which is 

taking place right now; the objects he saw 

in the cave, what he came back with.  Unbelievable 

stuff; but there are spirits in the car with us 

as we drive him to the casino and so I’m paying 

real close attention to everything he says.  We 

drop him off and the night is cinematic, hyper-

real; everything on fire with meaning; tomorrow 

we’re going to ceremony and I can only imagine 

what the spirits are going to say about all 

this. I get out of the car and shake his 

hand, give him a copy of my little book. 

“I’ll pray you find those things you’re looking 

for,” I say. “I’ll see you around, brother.”

100 years of visionary memories

I remember literally staggering out 

from behind my gas station’s counter 

and falling to my knees after having 

finished Gabriel García Márquez’s 

One Hundred Years of Solitude. It was 

almost 4 AM, my morning customers 

were about to start coming in. The 

masterpiece had slayed me, had rocked 

me; this was what literature’s true 

greatness and power felt like. 10 

years later I still find myself 

thinking what I thought when 

I rose from my knees and just stood 

there looking out into the mystical 

Nebraska dark: now all I need 

to do is write a Native book like 

that, a world-changer like that, 

and that shouldn’t be too hard, 

should it? It’s doable, right?


I helped this old man, Myron Longsoldier, 

with his sweat for 13 years; from age 22 

to 35. I’d get off work at 7 AM, go home 

and sleep for an hour, and then drive out 

to the sweat and get the fire started. I learned 

what humility was from him; it was a quality 

of the heart; it had a palpable, tangible 

texture. Myron grew up speaking Lakota, 

had gone to prison, was an ex-alcoholic, 

a Sundancer, a leader in the community.

He’s retired now, is on oxygen, can no 

longer pour sweats. When I post about 

going to Tokio he comments that I better 

wear my best Indian clothes that I got and 

to give em’ hell, whatever that means. Once 

as he was praying with the first seven stones

I saw all of his prayers coming out of him, 

like a big twisting smoke coming out of his 

face and front; animated energy traveling 

up. I think of him while facing the shelves 

on a quiet Thursday evening, turning and 

stacking the cans to get them just right. All 

these ones I ‘ve known, I think; May I please 

never forget them. 

My Tokyo Lightning Book 

I picture myself writing a book about 

everything that happened in Tokyo. I’ll 

illustrate it with drawings of the city, the 

people I met, the beings I saw; and all 

the images will crackle and shimmer. Every 

full moon the book will grow hair and 

transport you into a real single moment 

for as long as you’d like; you, Liv, and the 

Bigfoot who came with me; dancing 

joyfully for Nipsey; the romance of standing 

on the train with your partner on the other 

side of the planet. Cool older folks 

will give it away on Halloween.  Daring 

souls who wander into caves will find 

it mysteriously on their person when they 

reemerge. It will spread the word on 

how to equip and prepare oneself for 

participating in large-scale ceremonial 

work purposed towards the healing of 

countries, cultures, and time; with a 

detailed account of Fukushima, WWII, 

and what happened with the 40 or so of us 

during our ritual. It will fit in your pocket, 

like The Little Prince. It will function as 

the perfect leveling-up gift between friends 

transitioning into lovers, or allies, or mates 

for life. It will be code in Japan for 

someone who travels with the medicine 

that the Gods and Goddesses wish to see 

flower again. It will be a shrine for the 

little people, the Other World. And 

When people read for a second time 

another copy will appear on a swan’s 

back and right before that swan dives 

a child will see it and know that 

somehow they have to save it. 

For more about Cliff Taylor

Ponca Lunch Hour Poems © Cliff Taylor

~ Siwar Mayu, September 2023

Wallmapu ñi tukulpazungu, mapuzungun witrapuratungey / Memories from Wallmapu, the Mapuzungun Rises

© Piam told by Cornelio Puelman in 1987 

© Introduction and translation from Mapuzungun by Sandro Rivas Pichicura and Violeta Percia. 

© Pictures Violeta Percia

© Translation from Spanish by Lorrie Jayne and Juan G. Sánchez Martínez

If you prefer to read this as a PDF, click here

Piam are the stories that are passed from generation to generation, and reveal meaningful events in the Mapuche’s history. Many of the piam happened in the historical time of the persecution and genocide of Mapuche families during the so called “conquest of the desert,”perpetrated by the Argentine nation-state between 1878 and 1885. Piam are a type of counter-history and counter-memory that stand counter to the official history of that invasion and colonization of Puelmapu, Eastern Wallmapu, Mapuche ancestral territory, in what is now known as Argentine Patagonia.

Unlike academic and well-documented studies that confirm state terrorism in Argentina, piam, as oral histories, are passed from generation to generation, or are recorded, and they reconstruct a specific time. Here we offer one of these piam, transcribed for us to counter forgetfulness. As they are told to us and as we hear the piam, we believe it: we don’t need to verify it because we know that it happened in this way and it is in the collective memory of our people.

Although they seem like stories from a remote past, they are current for today’s generations. They are revitalized in every new gathering, because the signs of those events are part of a symbolic and effective violence that renews the invasion daily. For instance, in the Villa Llanquin rural elementary school, there is a human skull on display in a glass case. Until recently the skull had a sign that said “head of an Indian.” Another example is that a lake, a city in Patagonia, a train line, and many streets and parks are named after Julio Roca, the Argentinian Minister of War, who led the invasion of Wallmapu, and who continues representing Argentinian society. Furthermore, there are several equestrian statues of Roca in uniform throughout the country, one which is even located in the Civic Center of Furilofche City–an emblem of the power that is exercised today against the Mapuche nation in their own territory.

The following piam, told by Cornelio Puelman, was told to him by his grandfather, who belonged to the generation that witnessed the beginning of the end of that ancestral world that was once still free and autonomous. Puelman belongs to the generation of grandfathers and grandmothers, chachay ka pu papay, who left this world around 2011. Daughters and sons, nephews and nieces of Puelman’s generation are now mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers of the generation who are revitalizing the language, the land and the memory, and who are speaking Mapuzungun, a language that suffered from the Argentinian policies of the silencing and prohibition of Indigenous languages. 

The story that Cornelio Puelman is telling us is not an isolated one. Stories like these have been heard in many places, such as among the Rankülche in the Province of Buenos Aires, or in the Pewenche areas, as well as in other regions of Wallmapu where people witnessed similar events.

These stories are told in Mapuzungun with the grammatical suffix “em” or “yem”, which is used to report something that is old or that is no longer here. It also carries a connotation of sadness and nostalgia for that world that is gone. It is customary in  Mapuche philosophy to reflect upon the kuifike che yem, because Mapuche thought is always thinking toward the past, on what the ancestors would have done if they were here in the present. This is a way for the ancestors to continue speaking to the present, so that the past returns and the circle closes. This is why it is important to rescue this piam. 

PUELMAN CORNELIO ÑI NGÜTRAN ~ English version below

Feychi zungu ta mülele faw mu, fey mu ta müley ta tufa zungu. Fechi zugu ta mülele, inche ta laku zuam ta ngülam ta tufi. Ngey mapu em ta tufa mo, inchiñ ta kupay ta winka chew weshake kuzaw ta kupay. Müley ta kulliñ. Inche ta mülen…, inche ta ngen mapu, fey entuy taiñ paisano em. Inche ta nielay ta fey paisano em. Inche ta feychi zungu, ta niey ta tio em. Kupaygün kupay winga inche nga entunge mapu pi em,  entunge mapu.

Fey miawngey mapu em, pia em, winka. Tüfa mari kiñe tripantu nien, mari küla tripantu, miawunge mapuzuam. Entuy mapun tiewtüfa kangelu mapu tati.

Consejalu ka winka entungeiñ mapu em. Ka winka mapuche tiew mülele, küme rüpü tüfaw pülle, inche feychi kampu, inche ta rangi pingey mu, tüfaw mu ta entungen, piam . Fey mo ta inche ta em.

Amuen tüfy ta tüfachi tüken ta tüfy, ta tüfachi mapu, fewla tañi mapu nien. Tükulen fewla ngülam müten kampu ta tafy, anay. Femgechi ta conseja ñi ta che, fey ta consejo feyta küme amuy ka. Consejaniele che inchiñ taiñ paisano em. Kiñe ta ka pülle amuy ka anüy ta kay müley pu che. Fey mu ta inchiñ ta winka ta kiñer, pim, pülle ta winka. Kom fey mincheawchi amuley, fey mu ta winka awüwün ta kelluy ta tüfey.

Así es.. unos con otros los winka no se tratan de joder. El paisano trata de joder al que está bien, trata de joderlo. El winka no, el winka se ayudan unos con otros, al jodido lo ayuda, por eso levanta, y nosotros no. 

Felelay pues… felelay, felelay.  

Inchiñ müley ta tüfey. Ilkungey feyta müley ta che ta tüfey. Feychi wule ta trawayu kom ta kiñelzungu pülle kom fey pülle. No, trawayu inche kupalan, inche amulan, well weza zomo, tiew weza ka mo ngelay ko ka tiew nielu lelfun mew. Fey mu ta tripalay fey. Kiñelzungu ta pilen, fey kiñelzungu, ¡ta müley fey! –¿Amuay pülle? –¿Amuayu? –¡Amuaiñ! 

Fütra kuifi ta müley pichi paw llazkünun ta tüfi. Fey mu ta tripalay ti pu che. Inchiñ taiñ mapuche ngeiñ ta tüfa. Kom ta feychi kiñelzungun ta nielay. Kiñe ta kay zungunge kangentuy ta ka zungu ka rakizuam müley. Fey mu ta inchiñ küme kuzawlaiñ. Küme kuzawlaiñ.


Kuifikeche müna malleo, kelluy, kelluwiñ; fotüm, ñawe, malle kiñelzungu, pi. Itrokom feley ta tüfy. 

[…] Antiguamente estaban todos unidos, todos unido. ¿No ve? Hoy estábamos conversando cuando yo tuve conocimiento tendría unos 10 años, 11. 

Pütuiñ may, ngolliiñ, zunguiñ. Peleao, peleao may tati peleolaiñ tati. Küme nguntrankaygün, tayültuku faw, tayültuygün, ngollygün, ulkantuygün, paylanaygün, pero weza zungulay. Fewla, kiñentuku pichikeche, pichikeche wüneltun me quieren pelear. Fey winkangefuy ta tüfey. Eso ha sido antes así.

Kuifikeche müley inche ñi fütra laku em nomen nga cruzafiy, rumen nga trentrenün zafiy, pi. Chew wefürpun pun gelle fulle, epu gelle fulle. Tripay nga lewfun mo nga amuaygün kiñe ngillañ engu. Kintuy nga chew müley rume nentuy sale fey mu tüfay müley pi, fey mu akufuy ñi puwükey.

Inche nga pikey ñi fütra laku em. Puwi nga winka nga inawlfiy katan ñi kawell pi, mollfunkawell mu nga bebiiñ. Müley nga la kulliñtufuy iloentufiy fey ñi fütra laku em zomo nga kütrangeiñ, fütra nga kütrangeiñ laku em tañi kushe laku em. Femgechi nga rupay pikey fütrakeche. Fewla nga ngtrumka mu ngelelle nge che koilaniefige “inche pelafi koila tati”, pingen tati. Así fuy.

Yo digo así fu. Son mentiras, dicen, yo no lo he visto. Pero uno que ha conversado está como un libro abierto, mi hijo. Clarooo… eso contaban los antiguos, que sufrían tanto, comían caballo muerto, punzaban su caballo. Si iban diez personas, diez kawell punzan, y si no, no alcanza la sangre. Mollfüñ kawell para matar el hambre. Si estaban sin comer, ellos, van dos, tres días, si no matan ningún bicho tienen que punzar el caballo. Punzan al lado de la vena. Si lo punzan del guargüero por lo menos cuatro litros de sangre sale. Ahí van tomando en jarro, sal y sangre, sal y sangre.

Pasaban tanto hambre porque tenían que andar disparando. Disparaban cuando vino este… ¿Cómo es que se llamaba el que vino a acaparar el país acá? ¿Los españoles? ¿Colón…? ¿Cristóbal Colón no es? …No, Roca, cuando vino ese.

Ka müna weshaley winka.

Una vuelta creo que kuifikeche piam müleygün, müley ta wütan, wütan ta müley. Amuaiñ fey mu winka nga müley fey mu, inche nga lay nga ñi pu che, pi. Nga kasike amuaiñ nga ñi kasike kechu mari …kechu pataka …kechu waranka wentru, piafi em. Kechu waranka wentru, piam,langümeymu, piam. 

Tranawüftuy nagtuy, nagüntun, nagentual. ¿Chumafungechi? Trafyeymu lanza mu trawil mu.  ¿Chumafuy? Traka mu müley tralkatuy. Kechu waranka piam lay.

Cinco mil personas le mataron al cacique. Murieron, dicen. Que le dijeron un wütan, wütan antes de ir hubo, un wütan. Y wütan es cuando le late un brazo o le late donde quiera, y le va ir mal, no, no vaya. No, voy ir nomas. Voy a atropellar a los winka, decía. ¿Que van a hacer con los Remington de los winka? Los agarraron en fila, así los mataron. Caían como pajaritos. ¿Y las lanzas y las trawilche, qué van a hacer los paisanos? Cinco mil mataron, dicen, volvió con mil. Seis mil personas, creo que atropellaron. ¿Qué va a hacer con el winka?

Wütan mu piam mu. Müley ta müley ta zugun wentru zomo fey zugunge. ¿Chumngechi amuan ta tüfa? ¿Küme amuan ka weza amuan? Weza amuaiñ, pita, weza wütan. Weza amuaiñ. No, amuan müten. La wütantufe le había dicho, la adivina ya le ha dicho que le va a ir mal. ¿Y usted cómo sabe?, dice el lonko. Venían por él. Si yo tengo un wütan, zugun wütan, zungulu wütan ¿küpaley winka? Küpaley. Wütan ta tüfy, küpay nga tiew. ¿Chew küpaley winka? ¿Küpay winka? Küpaley ta winka ta tüfa. 

¿Mirador pürayaiñ? May, püray mirador. Püraaiñ mirador piam. Resultó ser un mirador, para el sur. Püray nga, piaeymu. Küpaley winka püralu winka tüfa mu imulüy kümey kura kay lamngümaiñ winka. 

Küpay, piam mu. Küpaley, piam mu. Küpaley, piam mu, pu winka. Küpaley winka. Itrokom kelü rangiñ, kelü rangiñ. Tiew faw küpaley tati. Püraley ñi kiñelke pu che, los matan. Kansau pi ta winka, müna kansau. Katripel, katripeliel lanza mu, winka piwke lanza mu. Püraiñ. Rupay winka. Rupalu winka, si disparalew kawellun wiñotuy. Volvieron para atrás otra vez, en el mirador.

Antiguamente, eh, cuando andaban disparando de la expedición, subieron para el cerro y dice que si llegan a subir vamos a hacer rodar una piedra desde allá arriba. Van a pasar, llevando caballos, gente, y cuántos. Püraley winka, püraley antü. Pülle nga ta antü ta purraygün lamgümfiy. 

Si llega la hora suben. Todos no van morir, algunos dos, tres pueden subir allá, los matan a esa gente, van a salir disparando. Püra antüley che. Chumgechi nge montuy. Montuy. Feychi zapiley. 


If we were to talk about this matter that we are dealing with here. If we were to talk about this topic, my grandfather would give me this advice. We were the keepers of this land before, but the winka [non-Mapuche] brought bad works wherever he settled. Before there were animals. And being here…, and being from this land, the winka took the land from the Mapuche, as we were here and of this place. Those things didn’t happen among us. That was how my late uncle told me. They arrived, the winka, and although we were from here they took the land from us–they say–that’s how they took the territory from us.

The old ones used to say that the winka were trying to get land. I was eleven years old, I was thirteen, and they, the winka, were going around with the intention of taking land. They took away our rights to our land and to other lands as well.

The winka had been instructed to take away the old lands from us. Also the winka took the land of those Mapuche who had been on the good path, or that field in the middle. I remember those sad memories.

When I first came to this land where I am now, I planted this. Now I have this land. I only have this advice about the land: sow, friend. This is how people used to be counselled, so you will continue to be fine following this advice. The old Mapuche used to counsel us in this way. Some of them went and settled near the winka, and there were all the people. It is said, then, that we and the winka began to be together. The winka all went one on top of the other, so if a winka is harmed by himself or by others, they help each other, that’s what they do.

That’s how it is… the winka don’t try to screw one another. The paisano tries to screw someone who is doing well, they try to mess him up. The winka, no, the winka help one another, they help the one who is screwed, this is why they go forward, and we don’t. This isn’t any good…. It’s not good, no good at all.

We live in this way. There are folks that get angry, folks that are just like that. If someone says:

“Tomorrow we’ll get together to address the same question-united- one with another.”  

“No, I’m not going to get together, I’m not going… suddenly my wife is sick, the one from over yonder is still ill: I don’t have water.” 

So the matter never comes out. I would like to bring these things out all together, united. In this way, if someone says, “Let’s meet over there?” Everyone answers, “Come on! Let’s go!”

In former times, we nearly grieved over these things. Now these folks don’t come out. We are Mapuche here. We no longer have matters that we work on all together. When there is a concern, it is not like it was before, things are different, it’s another kind of thinking. So we don’t do good work, we don’t work well.

The old folks. The elders, those who came before, cousins, uncles, helped one another, we helped ourselves together. The sons, the daughters, my uncle, they walked all together as if they were one, they say. All of them! That’s how.

Yes, that’s how. Because before, I was already forty, and even so my deceased father told us what to do as if we were children. “Do this!”, he ordered, and I did it.  He wasn’t my father, he was my uncle. And today a fifteen year old son, what does he do? If he wants to do something, he does it, if he doesn’t want to, he doesn’t do anything. How are things going to go well in this way, my Friend? It’s because of that that it goes so badly.

…In the olden days, they were all united, all united. Can’t you see? What we just said, when I would have had understanding, I would have been ten or eleven. Sure, we drank before, we got drunk, we talked. But fight? Fight amongst ourselves? No, no, we never fought. We had good conversations, then we’d start the tayül, sing the tayül, sing romanceadas, and rest.1 But there weren’t any problems. Nowadays the kids drink and the first thing they want to do is fight. This comes from the winka. That’s how it was before.

1 The tayül is a ceremonial and sacred song. Every element of nature has a sacred song: the lake, the river, the rain. People also have a tayül. The romanceadas are spontaneous songs that relate to or narrate everyday  situations and are told in a sharing and funny way. Sometimes they are sung in counterpoint. There are many kinds of songs about a diverse range of situations that are sung as romanceadas. 

(Puelman now tells what the violent occupation of the territory was like and about the stalking and persecution of families during the invasion of the Wallmapu. He also tells the stories that he has heard from his elders.)

His brother-in-law was who crossed my great-grandfather over to the other side of the river with just enough to cure him, the elders say. Even though it was night, and they were two, they crossed to the other side. They came out of the river, and he and his brother-in-law went on together. They looked for any way out,  this way, they said; that’s how they got there.2

2 For the Mapuche worldview, rivers should not be crossed at night. The situation of persecution described is so desperate that it forces them to transgress that rule.

That’s how my deceased grandfather told it. Then, later, the winka arrived there. They told of times when they were being persecuted, and they pierced their horses, they, my grandfather and his wife, found dead animals and ate their flesh. These things suffered. Many torments were set upon my deceased grandfather and paternal grandmother. In this way they got on, this is how I was told the elders survived. Even though I tell it now, people say that I am lying. “I didn’t see that,” they say ”It’s a lie.”

I tell this story and they say, “They’re lies, I’ve never seen it.” But those who have spoken are like an open book, my Son. That’s what the old folks said, that they suffered so much, ate dead horses, pierced the flesh of their own horses. Ten people would go and pierce ten horses, if they hadn’t, they couldn’t have reached enough blood. They drank their horses blood to stave their own hunger. If they didn’t eat for two, three days, and they didn’t kill any other animal, they had to pierce the horse. It is pierced on one side of the vein. If the horse is pierced by the guargüero, you get at least four liters of blood. Right there they drink from a jug: salt and blood, salt and blood.

They suffered so much hunger because they had to shoot as they went. They had to flee, escaping when the… what was he called, the one who came to devour the Mapuche nation here? The Spanish? Columbus? Was it Christopher Colombus? No, Roca, Roca it was . That winka was real bad.

One time I think that the older one, they say, who had a presentiment, a hunch, there was a wütan, when a part of a muscle pulsates.3

3 The wütan is a pulse in the muscle that is interpreted as a premonition, a sign. Having a pulsing beat on the left side of the body is considered a bad omen.

“Let’s go then, because the winka, who killed my people are here,” said the Ionko. “Let’s go,” said the chief, “with 50…500…5000 men,” the grand Ionko said. They say they killed 5000 men.

One after another they lined them up on their knees and shot them down, downhill. What were we going to do? They went with lances and trawils.4 What were they going to do? The winka were armed and they fired. They say they killed 5000 men.

4 The trawil is a weapon with a single stone that has a slot in the middle where a rhea or choyke tendon is tied.

They said that he had a feeling, a hunch; he felt a wütan before going. And the wütan is when you feel a pulse in your arm, or a pulse anywhere, and it lets you know that things are going to go badly for you, so don’t go. 

“No, I’m just going to go,” they say the Ionko said. “I’m going to trample the winka,” he said. 

But what were they supposed to do against the winka’s Remingtons? They lined them up. That’s how they killed them. They felt like little birds. With lances and trawilche? What were our countrymen going to do? They say they killed 5000. He came back with a thousand. I think they killed 5 thousand. What could they do against the winka?

They said that he had a feeling, a hunch. The chief brought this news to the community, and they discussed: “What do we do with this? Are we going to do well or are we going to do badly?”. 

“It’s going to be bad for us. That hunch is bad presage, it’s going to be bad for us”, they told him. 

The wütantufe, the one who interpreted the sign, had already told the lonko that it was gonna go badly. 

“And you, how do you know?”, they say the Ionko demanded. “If I have a feeling, the feeling, what the pulsing says is that the winka is coming?”

“Yes, they are coming. This presentiment is that they are approaching from over there?”

“Where are they arriving? Are they coming here?”

“Yes they are arriving,” the wütantufe told him.

[In another persecution that the Mapuche families suffered on the prairie it is told that they said]

“Should we climb up to the lookout?” 

“Yes, let’s climb up to the lookout.” “Let’s climb on up!” they say they said. 

It just so happened that there was a lookout, to the South. 

“Climb up!” they shouted. “When the winka arrive and are climbing up we’ll roll down a hefty rock, that’s how we’ll kill the winka.” 

[He sings] “They’re coming, they say they said/ They’re approaching, they say./ The winka, they’re arriving, they kept on saying/ The Winka comes.” 

Half the people were covered in blood. Here they come! They climbed on up. Those that climb up are killed. They say that the winka were tired, very tired. With their spears they went for their necks and their hearts. That’s how it happened for the winka that climbed up. When the winka passed through, they had to run away, they returned riding. They retreated again, in the lookout.

Long ago, when they were fleeing from the expedition, they climbed into the hills. It is told that they said if they manage to climb after us let’s roll a good-sized rock from above. They’re likely to go by with horses, people, everything. And if the winka should come up, their hour has arrived. If that day arrives when they come up, they’ll kill them.

If they go up once they reach the lookout, not all will die, some, those who go up. Two, maybe three, will keep on climbing, they’ll be killed, they’ll be the ones to be killed, shot. That’s how it went at that time, that’s how the Mapuche people saved themselves. That is how they freed themselves. That was the way they took care of themselves.


Cornelio Puelman is Teodora Puelman’s brother. His mother was a machi, that is, a traditional Mapuche healer. He lived in the area of Fütra waw, fütra lelfun mew, in a rural area located in the prairies, near Comayo, Puelmapu, today the Province of Río Negro, in the so-called Argentine Patagonia. He belongs to the generation of grandfathers and grandmothers who left in the 2000s. Many of his great-nephews and his descendants continue to live in that area known as Línea Sur. They are reclaiming their Mapuche identity and the Mapuzungun after years of “shaming policies.”

Sandro Rivas Pichicura was born in Furilofche, Nawel wapi lafken mapu mew, in Puelmapu, also known in Spanish as Bariloche, Province of Río Negro, in Argentine Patagonia. His father was born in Fütra ruiñ, Cabestro Quemado. His mother was born in Pilawe. Both–Fütra ruiñ and Pilawe–are located in the rural area of the great prairie of the so-called Línea Sur. He has been a member of different Mapuche organizations and is currently an activist for the revitalization of the Mapuzugun. He teaches Mapuzungun at the Highschool Level and works in different linguistic revitalization projects. He has worked as a radio communicator and has participated cultural innitiatives, such as the microdocumentaries Mapuzungun. El habla de la Tierra.

Violeta Percia was born in Buenos Aires. She currently lives in Nawel wapi lafken mapu mew. She is a poet, audio-visual artist, and scholar. She works as a professor of Literary and Comparative Studies at the University of Buenos Aires. She studied film at the Cuban EICTV Alternative Cinema. She recently translated and wrote the introduction of I Am a Damned Savage, by the Innu writer An Antane Kapesh (2023). She also has published Ideorrealidades. Poemas y papeles dispersos de la obra futura de Saint-Pol-Roux (2013); El narcisismo del arte contemporáneo de A. Troyas y V. Arrault  (2020), the poetry books Clínica enferma (Buenos Aires, 2003), and Poesía del Tanti Rao (Mexico DF, 2019); and the novel Como nubes (Córdoba, 2021).

Memories from Wallmapu, the Mapuzungun Rises © Piam told by Cornelio Puelman in 1987

© Introduction and translation from Mapuzungun by Sandro Rivas Pichicura y Violeta Percia

© Pictures by Violeta Percia

© Translation from Spanish by Lorrie Jayne y Juan G. Sánchez Martínez ~ Siwar Mayu. September 2023

indinawemaaganidog / all of my relatives

“indinawemaaganidog / all of my relatives” from Islands of Decolonial Love. Copyright © Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, 2013. [ARP Books, Winnipeg]

If you prefer to read in PDF, please CLICK HERE

From the counter-cover of the book:

“Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s lovingly drawn characters work hard to preserve their innocence in a world where irony and cynicism would be easier. They spend a lot of time travelling: on land, on the water, through space and time–in cars, trucks, fishing boats, canoes, and in their minds: between bars, forests, reservations, curling rings, kitchens, lakes, and highways. These exquisitely rendered journeys become symbols for our desire to understand and never stop learning, no matter the cost. There is heartbreak here but also many moments of fleeting grace, and a wry humor that promises to keep us safe” 

–Ursula Pflug

“indinawemaaganidog / all of my relatives”

i am standing on the wharf in cap saint louis just wondering, when a guy i’ve never met shows up. you should know i make it a policy not to talk to people unless absolutely necessary which is judgmental and damaged and yes i miss out on possibility, but at the same time tricky people do manage on occasion to penetrate my aural perimeter. it all works out in the end. sort of. 

so etienne shows up and says allo and obviously he knows i’m not suppose to be there so i’m suspicious of what he wants. i tell him i want to see the seal colony even though that’s not what i want and that’s not what i am looking for. he immediately says he’ll take me. i ask how much. he says for free. 


nothing in life is free. the best things in life are free. there is no such thing as a free lunch. 

we walk down the dock and he offers his hand so i can step down onto the deck of the boat. of course i refuse and step down onto stacked broken plastic bins on my own because we need to get a few things straight right from the beginning and this is one of them. 

he starts the engine and i’m in the back with the gear so we can’t talk. it’s sunny and it’s windy and it’s perfect and as we drive away from the shore i think about dexter and all the possible scenarios. he interrupts, offering me a coors light iced tea and i take one on impulsive even though it’s only ten thirty in the morning and coors light is always gross. Suddenly we’re a mile off shore in the atlantic. 

we drive past a kayaker and kumbaya plays in my head and i stand up and wave like a happy person so he’ll remember me when the cops question him later. 

it’s only a few more minutes to the seals which are herded on a sand bar so they can catch the fish moving into the river with big tides. we get close and they stampede into the sea reminding me of dogs and sheep and buffalo and etienne ask me if i want to go farther. 

with the same impulse as the coors light iced tea, i say yes and he says he knows this place where there is a school of mackerel. we could fish because last night he was there and he caught a thousand pounds just jigging for them. i decide he is mi’kmaq because he could be and even though that probably means nothing it makes me feel less nervous. 

on the way to the mackerel, etienne tells me how the feds kicked his family out of the park and paid them three hundred and fifty bucks for their land in 1968 and then they bulldozed the house. i tell etienne that i know how that feels but i don’t think he believes me because he thinks i’m from toronto and i’m rich and judgmental and full of shit because that’s what people think when you say the word “ontario”.

etienne gets out the lines and in two minutes we know we’re on the school because we’re pulling in mackerel easy. he watches as i hold the hook and snap the fish into the garbage pail, which is my reveal. it’s sunny and it’s windy and it’s perfect and the arms of the day are wide open and no one has to be anywhere. i see a northern gannet and i love gannets because they can disconnect their wings before they plummet into the sea after a fish. imagine disconnecting a body part! the gannet swims over to the boat smelling the fish blood and etienne hands the gannet a fish and says “the bird is my family, all of this, the fish, the seals, the water–this is my family,” which is his reveal. 

our eyes meet because now he has my attention. i walk over and hug him and he is the kind of person that can give and receive a real hug and i’m not one of those people because my alarm system goes off when people touch me and i freeze up and shut down. this time that doesn’t happen. i decide to kiss him and it’s perfect and easy and we make out void of awkwardness but with a clearly defined beginning and a clearly defined ending. then he drives back to shore while i gut the fish in the back of the boat using his terrifyingly sharp knife, feeding the guts to the gulls and the gannets. he drops me off on the dock. we thank each other. we say goodbye and i pay attention to each step, instead of looking back. 


Watch ↳ here Leanne Betasamisake Simpson performing “Islands of Decolonial Love”

For more about Leanne Betasamisake Simpson and her art

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar, writer and artist, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the intersections between politics,  story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity.

“indinawemaaganidog / all of my relatives” from Islands of Decolonial Love. © Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, 2013. [ARP Books, Winnipeg]

~ Siwar Mayu, July 2023

Bird Spirit in the Wellsprings of Daydream. Fredy Chikangana

 Samay pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa / Espíritu de pájaro en pozos de ensueño ©  Fredy Chikangana. Bogotá, Ministerio de Cultura, 2010.

Translation from Spanish © Lorrie Jayne

If you prefer to read the PDF, please CLICK HERE

The literary work of Fredy Chikangana (Wiñay Mallki, root that remains in time) is fundamental in the history of contemporary Indigenous literatures from Abiayala (the Americas). His verses and essays mirror his life experience between community work and “walking the word” within cross-cultural spaces. From Chikangana, we have learned that “returning to ourselves” is always possible, and that the ancestral territories continue to speak the languages of the land, in this case: Quechua. With his flutes, poems and koka leaves in his chuspa (bag), Chikangana has shared his message of memory and unity from Chile to California, and from South Korea to Italy. Aware of the migrations of his Yanakuna Mitmak ancestors, his verses speak of chaskis (messengers), chakas (bridges), and exchanges. (Juan G. Sánchez Martinez)


callarinasha cusicuymanta huaccayripi
causaypiy llaphllahuachai puka
tukuna rumipi yana
paypicay yupaychayniok cayiniyokmanta uku pacha 
huatanima nukanchi yawar
waskakunawan huaymapacha.
phurupay tukanta
ima huacaychina llimpikuna causaymanta 
yakucapay munainiyok ttukiri
k ́apakpay yachikpayri tucuimanta quihuakuna
ima pusapayayman ananpachaman ukupachaman 
callpawan mosccoykunamanta.

Chaiman pacha quilluyana
rinacay tullu
jaika shimikuna pachamanta chhonccasca tarinakuna
nuka tikramuna caimán llapllahua
millma caimán, yakuman ima llancana aichakuna
nukarina takiman kcaytacunapura huailla quihuachaymanta 
micjunapak mosccutucuy runakunamanta
nuka tukuna kirushata uturunkumanta
taqui tutakunamanta tinya uyhuamanta
kenataquimanta tutaypachajahuaman
ukupachapita urkujatunmanta.

The Earth

The Earth

the beginning of happiness and weeping

within her lives the red placenta

turned to black stone, 

within her exist the rituals of the subterranean beings

that tie our blood

to the creeping vines of time.

Within that earth exists

the feather of the toucan

that keeps the color of life,

the free and restless water exists there

the aroma and taste of all the herbs

that carry us to heaven and hell,

we are there, you and I

with the strength of dreams.

Once the mouth of time has sucked them dry

our bones will go back

to that black and yellow earth;

we will return then to that placenta

to that feather, to the water that touches our bodies,

we will go and sing among the green threads of herbs

and feed the dreams of men.

Once again we will be the tooth of the tiger,

night’s poem, mare’s hoofbeat.

flute song in the deepest hours of night

within the depths of the great mountain.

Caykuna waskamanta sumaimana

Chaipi huchuy llanta chincashcca 
runakuna tucunaq pishcupi
illapay llimpirichakwan ninamanta 
jahuapi catanakuna wassimantakuna. 
Cahuapay puñuipay causaymanta 
callpanchay ñanpay
sonccopaywan pancalla achcallaquimanta.
Ary huaquin utiykuna
ashana japina tusuykuna millmacaymanta 
takipay mucmikuc
ñaupakunamanta cachakuna
richhaycunari runpanakuna
ima llimpiana millmapaymanta
kaykunashapay waskamanta sumaimana 
huarcurimakuna ananpachamanta
kaima maipiman uraikuna huañukuna
jahuinata tucuy mosccoykuna causaykunamanta.

Beings of the Tremendous Liana

In that lost little village

men turn into birds

light up with their fiery colors

above the rooftops of houses.

They look over the sleep of the live ones

so at dawn they might 

revive the way

with hearts made light of so much sorrow.

If one were to ponder them

they would understand the dance of their feathers

in the darkness

the silent song

of ancient messages

and the circular forms

that flash like lightning from their feathers;

they are beings of the tremendous liana

that hangs from the sky

that the dead descend down upon

to paint the dreams of the living.

Takimanta pachakuna

Saramanta nukamantaki
yakumantari noqa samay.
Kunantaki sarunhina paikunataki
sinchina muyu ttillayaima huañuykuna. 
Ary suttuina ima micunakuna pacchakuna.

Saramanta nukamantaki
yakumantari noqa samay.
Causay kunan tarpuymittawan cainamanta 
mishquikunawan atina hark ́aima huañuykuna.

Verses from the Earth

My verses are of corn

and my essence of water

I sing today as they sang before

like a strong seed that dodges death

As does the drop that feeds the fountain

My verses are of corn

and my essence of water

I live with yesterday’s seeding

with the sweet insistence that detains death.

Pacha takipa

Saramanta takiy nuqapi yakuri samay
Taki punchau ñaupakhina taki
k’ullu sonccohima muyu ima nima huañushca 
suttuyhinamicjuchiy pucuycuna.
Saramanta: taki, yaku, samai...
Causay punchau tarpunahuancuna cayna-punchau 
trigo parhuayna poccoy ima sisay pachacunapi.

Chants from the Earth

My songs are of corn, of water my essence

I sing today as they sang before

like the stubborn seed that refuses death

like the drop that feeds the fountain

of corn: songs, water, essence…

I live today with yesterday’s seeding

like the ripe ear of corn that blooms on the earth.

Nukanchis kan causay pachacaypi

Paykan cutanapaykuna quilluzarapay rumijahuapi 
nukanchistaquinakay quenawanihuan tinyacunari tarukamanta 
nukasinaiku shinkayanaiku manapacha
nukachana intita rinaima urkupaypi;
Nukasinaiku nukatusuikuni quenacunawan maquicunapura 
nukawan haku cahuirinahuan pachaukupimanta
pupumaypi inlli cayanaima apanainukari
pachayta Maipú nukausana huañushkuni
nukachaskinakay cushiwan:
«¡Nukanupiana!» niy taita Manuel «causaimari sarapay». 
«¡Nukanupiana!» niy mama Rosario «causaimari pachapay ima
Shuyanan tusuykay jahuapi huachuncuna 
nukasinaiku takinakayri huañushkuwan 
quenaswan machanchinan llaquincuna 
antuchiwan mishkichinam tutacuna 
«¡nukanupiana llakimana! caparipay
«ima nukancharinan causay pachaikay».

We Have Life on This Earth Yet

While they grind the yellow corn on the mortar

we sing with flute and deerskin drums

we laugh, and drink without haste

bid goodnight to the sun who flees through the mountains.

We laugh and dance, flutes in hand

go down towards the depths of the earth

by that warm umbilical that drags us toward 


towards that space where our dead ones live,

they welcome us with happiness

“Let’s drink!” says Grandfather Manuel, “and long live the corn.”

“Let’s drink,” says Mama Rosario, “and long live the precious land that warms us!”

And while we dance upon the furrows

we laugh and sing with our dead,

with our flutes we banish our sorrows

with chicha we sweeten the nights.

“Let us drink without shame!”  they shout,

“We have life yet on this earth.”


Tutamanta kaimi urkuspiri
punkucuna cay k ́anchachii chucchunari
llinpipaywan ninamanta
k ́atcukuna cunapay cahuana tocco huachuchaicaimi
 ima chacay tutayakuna rhupaypak sonkonukan 
runakuna huarmiri yanakunas
ima cay runa ima cay yanapana pachapaipi tutapaimanta 
shimi, huaccay asiri yakushukpi cushnimanta sancju, 
ninapaypi sha callanapaipi
callanapaipiri yana
panccaykuna kokamanta muyuima runpanapi
muyuina pachapay
machupay hamk ́ay panccakuna nina-hasttik
chaimanta apanasha pancakimsa shimicunaman 
mambiari cahuarayai usphakunaman
ccocuy kimsa pancca yuyo ninfita
yallinapay hauanta acchapaymanta
«raquiycamay» niy,
«paykuna munanapas mambiar»
phutuy ninamanta kcaytashuk cushnimanta
imakuna muyuy jahuapi uaikuna
paykan upiana ñanpay ananpachaman;
tapuna sunkupay payapaimanta
«¿kayma niyman ninapay?»
Tiyana chhinshuk paquinima jatapaywan

On Fire

Night falls in the mountain

Doorways brighten and quiver

with the brilliance of the fire

the cracks and windows are the lines

that cross the darkness to warm our hearts

The Yanakuna men and women

solidary beings in times of darkness

speak, cry and laugh in a river of thick smoke

Within the fire sits the clay basin

Within the basin of black clay

the little coca leaf spins in circles

just as time spins.

The elder toasts the leaf and stokes the fire

then brings three leaves to his mouth and

chews the coca looking down upon the ashes

he offers three tender leaves to the fire

passing them above his head

“We must share,” he says

“They, too, want to chew.”

A thread of smoke rises from the fire, takes a turn ´round the kitchen

as it makes its way towards the heavens.

Grandmother’s heart asks:

“What could the fire have spoken?”

A silence abides broken 

by the crackle of dry kindling.

Yuyay yakuk

Cuyak llakta
yanacunas huañuk ñoccanchic shimi rimai purinam. 
Cuerpo yaku licha purina
waiku yuyai
huaira wiñay shuchuna.
Ima yaravi
ñampi ttica maythu quinquinam yaravi
waikus pas urkus cay
yanakuna quilla yachina
inti k›uichi waiku runa.

Memory of Water

Throughout these lands

wander the voices of our deceased yanakunas

The river is their body-they walk with

the memory of water

trembling like a tree in the wind.

This is why I sing

that the flowers and pathways may sing

mountains and lakes

that the moon may know that I am Yanakuna

man of water and rainbow.

Quechua sonccoycaimi

Purinaymi caranuqapi
takipay pisccomanta hullilla tamiakuna 
pponccopay yakumanta chakracunapi 
runari ima purichiy puyu huaylluy.

Quechua sonccoycaimi

imaraykucaina tutakuna nuqapi huakyay 
imaraykukunan chekchipay hanapacha nuqapitapuy 
imaraykupaccarin katin taki
jahuapi usphayaykuna.

Quechua wairacaimi ima cheqquechiy kcaytakuna chakatana 
tutacunapi misterioninari.

Quechua nimacaymi huarmimanta
chaycama yuyai illaypicuna cuyaymantan
manña tullpacunamanta... manña pachakunamanta 
manña ñankunamanta.

Quechua iphupaycaimi paccarincunamanta 
ssimiri ñukanchimanta huañushca.

Quechua sonccopaipi
ima shaikuna pincuylluri tinyapura 
caballupaypi pachamanta sacha 
k ́apayhuan kiñiwa kamchari
 maipi rimay: ñukanchi maiki, 
ñukanchi cara, ñukanchi rimay, 
ñukanchi taki, ñukanchi atipacuk.

Quechua pachamamacay
cunuyachinakuna llapllahuakuna
ñoqari huachana pachaman
shukpi minka atipanakuymanta killari wiñay.

Quechua is my heart

Within my body lives

the song of birds announcing the rain

the pool of water in the garden

and the man who passes by caressing the mist.

Quechua is my heart

for yesterday the night called me

for today the grey in the sky asks me

for tomorrow I will keep on singing

over the ashes.

Quechua is the wind that scatters the threads of the weave

in the mysterious night of candles and oil lamps.

Quechua is the silence of woman

while she dwells upon the absence of her beloved.

at the edge of the tullpa: the stones who keep the fire

…at the edge of the earth

at the edge of a path.

Quechua is the morning dew the voice 

of our dead ones.

Quechua is the heart 

that shakes between flutes and drums

in the neighing of the millenium

with the smell of kiñiwa

and roasted corn,

where we still say: our hands

our bodies, our voice

our music, our resistance.

Quechua is the earth mother

to whom we belong

who shelters the placenta

and delivers us to the world

in a minga* of struggle and permanent moons.


* minga: andean tradition for collaborative effort and community work.

For more about Fredy Chikangana / Wiñay Mallki

Samay pisccok pponccopi muschcoypa / Espíritu de pájaro en pozos de ensueño © Fredy Chikangana

Bird Spirit in the Wellsprings of Daydream © Lorrie Jayne ~ Siwar Mayu, November 2022

“Sanchiu”. Dina Ananco

Original poetry in Wampis © Dina Ananco

Introduction, selection and translation from Spanish © Katia Yoza

If you prefer to read as PDF, CLICK HERE

Dina Ananco is a Wampis and Awajun poet, translator, and interpreter. She has a BA in literature, and a Master’s degree in Peruvian and Latin American literature from Universidad Nacional de San Marcos, in Lima. She participates in poetry readings and academic events in Peru and internationally. She will be representing Peru at the Guadalajara international book fair in 2022.

Sanchiu (Lima: Pakarina Ediciones, 2021) is the first published book of poems in the Wampis language. The Wampis people are located between the south of Ecuador and the north of Peru, and they are part of the Jibaro linguistic family. The book is a bilingual edition in Wampis and Spanish, and the author translated her poems into Spanish herself. “Sanchiu” was the last name of Ananco’s grandmother, who appears on the book’s cover. This collection of forty poems is a tribute to the Wampis women which makes visible their strength and suffering, as well as current challenges inside and outside of the communities.. The poems follow the Wampis literary poetry form called “nampet” and their celebration of singing anywhere with nostalgic emotion, tenderness, humor, and dubious tone.

Kiarai, etsa kanak weakai,
ameka utñaitme
turasha Nantu wainiakum
nantu takatin nekapeakum
shir wake mesemar utñaitme
Antakrika utmain utñaitme
Jika jikamat utñaitme
Urukamtain utea, tamaka;
aishri Nantu ajapa ikukmau asa utñaiti
turamin aiñawai uun aiñaka
Yuwisha suritujakmau asa,
shir yurumin asamin,
suri asamin, aishrum ukurmakin tutaiyaitme.
Miñasha, ishichkisha, ashismasmeksha ujattsakia
tui nuwe penkermarisha aa
wisha ichinkachin najantan unuimartaj
Yamaika, ichinkachika, pininchika najantaka shir nekatsji.
Nuwech iñaktursakia
miñak iñaktursakia,
wisha unuimartaj.


In the evening, when the sun goes to sleep,

you usually cry

but when you see the Moon

when you feel the full moon

you sob, longingly.

We could cry listening to your weeping.

Nostalgically you cry.

Why does she cry? when we say;

because of the abandonment of her husband Nantu cries,

the uun regularly tell you.

As you are stingy with the pumpkin,

as you are a good eater, 

because you are greedy, your husband has left you, they tell you. 

Warn me too, even if it is little, whispering, 

where there is real clay

that I might learn how to make little vessels. 

Now, we don’t know how to make the little vessels, not even the pinin.

Show me the little clay;

only to me show it to me,

so that I too can learn.


Nantu: the Moon

Uun: Elders 

Pinin: vessels made of clay in which the wampis drink water or masato (traditional drink made of yucca).

Atumsha urukarmetsu
Atumsha urukarmetsu,
Wika, wampis anentaimtan wakeeruta jajai
Wampis nuwajai metek
Wampis, papin universidad aujsaujai metek
Wampis nuwa uchirtinjai metek
Wampis nuwa aishrinñujai metek
Junisa pujaun tarach, akiitai tura patakemtai numi jinkaijai najanamujai iwarmameajai
Uuntur usumajakarua imanisan usumeajai
¡Ipak atsawai! Turasha wene yakatai kapantuwa juketi
Wener penkerchia ju najenchjai nakumkam shir juwawai
Wiichur esarman atian, espejonam iimajai
¡Añawa! Arutmarua
Ee, ju jaanch penkerchia jujai wampisaitjai
Nakumameajai wakantrun facebooknum iwaiñaktasan
1 horasha nankamatsain 5 mil “ti penkeraiti” tau awai
Nukap atsuk, wichauwaitjai,
Yaunchuk uunnaka yajá ukukin nekapeajai, ijusan pujayatkun
Yapirun nijaran, tarachin awikan
Sapat tacortin aiña auna weamajai
Turan vestido kapamñun nunkuajai, tarachjai metekmamtin ati, tusan
Nunkutai kurijai najanamun nunkuran, akiitaincha winchan akian wajajai
Shiram wantiniajai
Wampis anentaijai anentaimsan, tajai,
Nakumamkan Instagramnum iwaiñajai
Eme jaiñawai aaiñak
5 mil “ti penkeraiti” tau awai
Atumsha urukarmetsu,
Wika juni junin yamekjai
Waurkamñu nekapeajai
Aya jamain nekapeajai
Turasha juna atsumajai.
Pujuttrun kajinmatkishtajai, tukin
Bañonam enkeman tarachin nunkuajai
Lima tsetsek tepeamunmasha suijkisha shir emajtatsui
Ti penker iwarnarjai, peetain ashi jukin
¡Chichakai nakumrukarti, tusan, wakerajai!
Urukukitaj nuna shir awantak, naka jirkiarti, tusan
Miña pujutruka juwaiti, tusan, eme aneasan iyajai
Kakaran chichajai
Ashi uwejan awatturaiñawai
Kame, wariñak chichaj nunasha shirka nekatsjai
Chichamu amukamtai
Tarachin, akiarmau tura peetai aiña nunaka awiran mochilanam, bolsanmaksha chumpiajai
Yapirun nijajai, celularan achikan, nui internetnum taxin seamin
Miña anetairjai vino umartasan
Kashin tsawak
Periódico suramunam tura internetnum iwaiñamunam naka jiniajai
Tikich, yaktanmaya iimaru aiñajai
Aujai chichaman jimartuktatjai tachamaitkun
Nui wajajai, tarachin nunkuaru
Uuntur uruk usumajakarukit nuna yapirui epesan
Nui wajajai, wisha yakitaj nuna nekamattsan
Tsawan urukukit nui wisha metek juwajai
Wakantrui tura numparui juajai wii shuara jaanchrinka, wishimenka
Atumsha urukarmetsu
Wika nekámatsjai
Turasha shir nekapeajai
Ashi nunkanmaya
Kankape ejetumainchau
Suwa Kuwankus waja iman

I don’t know about you

I don’t know about you

Sometimes I feel like thinking as a Wampis

Other times as a Wampis woman, 

Wampis university student 

Wampis mother

The Wampis lover

Suddenly I wear tarach, earrings, necklaces and seed bracelets

I paint my face with my ancestors’ lines

No achiote! My red lipstick is enough

That wine-colored eyeliner that leaves my full lips pronounced

It’s a party!

I let my long hair down and I see myself in the mirror

I’m Wampis

Oh, my god

Yes, I’m Wampis in this beautiful outfit

I take pictures for my social media

In less than 1 hour I have 5 thousand likes

Suddenly I’m not me,

I feel far away from my ancestors, but I see myself so close 

I wash my face, I get undressed

I put on my heels

And the red dress to keep the color

My gold necklace and shiny earrings dangle from my ears

I look beautiful

I think in Wampis and say to myself 


I take pictures and post on my Instagram

Everyone compliments me

I get 5 thousand likes

I don’t know about you guys,

But this routine makes me tired

It drives me crazy

It overwhelms me

But I need it

So I don’t lose the habit, saying 

I go into the bathroom and put on tarach

Even the sweat betrays me in the Lima winter.

I put on my best suit and the best accessories

I need the cameras at every press conference!

I need that lens to exoticize me on the front page

And I affirm that this is my culture and I am proud of it

I raise my voice

Everyone applauds me

Sometimes, I don’t even understand what I’m saying myself

The conference ends,

I take out my tarach, my necklaces and my feather earrings and put them in my backpack, my purse

I wash my face, ask for a cab by app 

And off I go

I go to drink wine with my lover

The next day

I’m on the front pages of the printed and digital media

At the side of the authorities

Nothing compromises me

There I am, with my tarach

With the lines of my ancestors on my face 

There I am, searching for my multiple identity

That serves me for action in every circumstance

With the color and the smile of my people in my soul and blood

I don’t know about you, 

But I don’t recognize myself

And I prefer this way

To be from everywhere

With an endless root

Like Suwa in Kuankus


Tarach: traditional dress of Wampis women.

Achiote: Tree whose seeds are used to dye people’s faces red.

Shirmaitjai: I am gorgeus, I am beautiful.

Suwa: Huito, a tree whose black seeds are used to dye hair and the face. It was a woman before turning into a tree.

Kuankus: Goangos river. It is next to Rio Santiago and belongs to Morona-Santiago in Ecuador. It was the ancient land of the awajun people.


Ame jiimin miña uuntru pujutin nekawaitjai
Chichamrumin wari jintak wekatusuitam nunasha wainkauwaitjai
Uruk maaniñak armia
Imtichirisha urukuk armia
Warichiñak yu armia
Tuin yujau armia
Amiña chichamrumin nekawaitjai patarun
Antukuitjai anentan
Mushutkauwaitjai tsaankun
Ame aja awamuka penker, nupasha takajat ayayi
Anentin asamin
Anentruam yurumak, kenke, inchi arau asamin
Anentruam uchiram irusam pujújakuitme
Tikich pujutnum weakum ankan ukurkiñaitme
Uchiram, tirankim tura tiranmi uchiri aiñasha
Yamaisha ya aujmatsamtaiya
Uuntrusha uruk matsámajakarukit nunasha antuktataj
Ankan ukurkiñaitme ju nunka jui
Turasha, anentairuinka tuké pujame
Wii atsumakaisha


In your eyes I learnt the history of my ancestors.

In your word I saw the roads you traveled

How they faced their enemies

What their little faces looked like

What little things they ate

Where they walked

In your word, I met my family

I listened to the anen

I inhaled the tobacco

Your field was so beautiful, it invited weeding

Because you possessed the anen

Because you sowed yucca, sachapapa, sweet potato after singing the anen

Singing the anen you had your children united

You left an emptiness in me when you went to the other life

To your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

To the community

Who will tell us now

The feats of the ancestors

You left me alone in this territory 

Always living in my heart 

You are there when I need you

When I feel sad

When I cry

When I suffer from being far away

You are always there

Because you are strong

Because you are a Wampis woman

Because you are Awajun woman


Anen: Sacred Wampis and Awajun chant. It can be transmited from deities such as Tsunki or Nunkui.

Nunkui: Female Wampis goddess who taught women the anen and how to domesticate plants. 

Sachapapa: A tuber that is similar to potato.


Iwarmamrau, natsanatsamtau,
shiram tura penkeri.
kinta sanartamunam waureawai
nuke yairach aiña nuna uchupiak;
shuiñan yumirin
napaka nitasha nampenai 
kankaptinchau, ima nekas nawe aramsha urukawaintak
kanawertinchau, uwejtin akusha.
unuimaru, wishiwishi jas, 
shuar nankamaun aujeawai
Tuké jasa wajasti tu yuminramu asa
akiachmaitak jean kuitameawai.
Aneetairin tura aneshtai aiña nuna
pujutin kuitameak.
Kampuwarin tukumruiñawai arantsuk,
kankape iwaramu aiña nuka utaiñawai
neajkin wainmainchaun akakeak
Iñashinka nukumawai
machit awatti, tusa.
Awatmauka kashi tsawak esameawai.


Elegant, shy

bright and beautiful.

It flirts before the evening breeze

that cools the tiny leaves

while the bees become intoxicated

with the honey of the grape berries.

I wonder:

What would he do if he had feet and not roots?

if he had hands and not branches?


always smiling and polite

greets every passerby.

Condemned to remain still,

He watches over the house without pay. 

Watching over the health of his lovers

and the unloved.

They kick the trunk without a laugh,

the ornamented roots groan

slipping imperceptible tears.

Their body wiggles

dodging the machete’s edge.

Each wound is renewed at dawn.

He tells me of his indecent adventures. 

His fear of deadly diseases.

The man’s casual hit with a chainsaw.

No one knows his future.

Neither do the leafy trees

despite their experience

of yesterday and their years to come.

Yaunchuk urukuk ayam nuka kajinmatkim
yaki ekemsam, shir irkattsam aeskartame.
Kajeawastai tumain sukurkateame.
Jika jikamtatsuk nekapeatai tumain akaame.
Nuniakmin kuntuts nekapnitji.
Yaunchukka, iya junin asam,
nunká pujujakuitme.
Iya junin asam, nunká wekájakuitme.
Turasha yamaika, apumasam yaki eketeame,
kajeawastai tumain, kajeachiatam.
Nunisam ejemsam,
yumijai manin ájaku asam,
Nii yutain etsanteakminka
“yumi ipameawai,
etsa uteawai”, tiñaitji.
Nunisam irauwaitme nunkasha.
Nunismetsuk yumisha irareamtai.


Forgetting how you used to be

Sitting on top, staring at us, you burn us.

As if you were angry, you burn us.

You come down like you’re homesick.

I am sorrowful when you do that.

Since you were like us in the old days,

you lived on the earth.

Because you are like us, you used to walk on the earth.

But now, you are up there as a boss,

as if you were upset, without being upset. 

So being,

as you used to fight with the rain,

if you shine when it rains

“the rain heralds the bad omen,

the sun cries,” we used to say. 

You visit the earth this way. 

Surely this is how you visit the rain.

For more about Dina Ananco and her book Sanchiu

For more about the translator

Katia Yoza is a Ph.D. candidate in the Spanish department at Rutgers University and a University and Louis Bevier Fellow. She is currently co-organizing the Andean and Amazonian Studies Working Group at Rutgers. Her research focuses on Amazonian textual and visual narratives on indigenous cosmovisions involving urban, public, and global audiences. She has a MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Paris IV–Sorbonne and a BA in Hispanic Literature at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. She has taught literature and Spanish courses to undergraduate and high school students in the United States, Peru, and France and worked in public humanities through local associations and NGOs in the United States. She also published a collection of short stories about animals from the Amazon rescued from illegal trade.

Sanchiu © Dina Ananco

Introduction, selection and translation from Spanish © Katia Yoza ~

Siwar Mayu, October 2022

The Marrow Thieves. Cherie Dimaline

The Marrow Thieves © Cherie Dimaline

If you prefer to read as PDF, click here

Story: Part One (novel excerpt)

“Anishnaabe people, us, lived on these lands for a thousand years. Some of our brothers decided to walk as far east as they could go, and some walked west, and some crossed great stretches of narrow earth until they reached other parts of the globe. Many of us stayed here. We welcomed visitors, who renamed the land Canada. Sometimes things got real between us and the newcomers. Sometimes we killed each other. We were great fighters —warriors, we called ourselves and each other— and we knew these lands, so we kicked a lot of ass.”

The boys always puffed out their chests when Miig got to this part. The women straightened their spines and elongated their necks, their beautiful faces like flowers opening in the heat of the fire.

“But we lost a lot. Mostly because we got sick with new germs. And then when we were on our knees with fever and pukes, they decided they liked us there, on our knees. And that’s when they opened the first schools. 

“We suffered there. We almost lost our languages. Many lost their innocence, their laughter, their lives. But we got through it, and the schools were shut down. We returned to our home places and rebuilt, relearned, regrouped. We picked up and carried on. There were a lot of years where we were lost, too much pain drowned in forgetting that came in convenient packages: bottles, pills, cubicles where we settled to move around papers. But we sang our songs and brought them to the streets and into the classrooms — classrooms we built on our own lands and filled with our own words and books. And once we remembered that we were warriors, once we honored the pain and left it on the side of the road, we moved ahead. We were back.”

Minerva drew in a big, wet sniff, wiped her nose across her sleeve, and then set about chewing the fabric once more. 

“Then the wars for the water came. America reached up and started sipping on our lakes with a great metal straw. And where were the freshest lakes and the cleanest rivers? On our lands, of course. Anishnaabe were always the canary in the mine for the rest of them. Too bad the country was busy worrying about how we didn’t pay an extra tax on Levi’s jeans and Kit Kat bars to listen to what we were shouting.

“The Great Lakes were polluted to muck. It took some doing, but right around the time California was swallowed back by the ocean, they were fenced off, too poisonous for use.”

I’d seen the Great Lakes: Ontario when we were in the city and Huron when we lived on the New Road Allowance. The waters were grey and thick like porridge. In the distance, anchored ships swung, silent and shuttered, back and forth on the roll of methodical waves.

“The Water Wars raged on, moving north seeping our rivers and bays, and eventually, once our homelands were decimated and the water leeched and the people scattered, they moved on to the towns. Only then were armies formed, soldiers drafted, and bullets fired. Ironically, at the same time rivers were being sucked south and then east to the highest bidder, the North was melting. The Melt put most of the northlands under water, and the people moved south or onto some of the thousands of tiny islands that popped up out of the Melt’s wake across the top of our lands. Those northern people, they were tough, though, some of the toughest we’ve ever had, so they were okay, are still okay, the takes tell. Some better than okay. That’s why we move north towards them now.”

Migg stood, pacing his Story pace, waving his arms like a slow-motion conductor to place emphasis and tone over us all. We needed to remember Story. It was his job to set the memory in perpetuity. He spoke to us every week. Sometimes Story was focused on one area, like the first residential schools: where they were, what happened there, when they closed. Other times he told a hundred years in one long narrative, blunt and without detail. Sometimes we gathered for an hour so he could explain treaties, and others it was ten minutes to list the earthquakes in the sequence that they occurred, peeling the edging off the continents back like diseased gums. But every week we spoke, because it was imperative that we know. He said it was the only way to make the kinds of changes that were necessary to really survive. “A general has to see the whole field to make good strategy,” he’d explain. “When you’re down there fighting, you can’t see much past the threat directly in front of you.”

“The Water Wars lasted ten years before a new set of treaties and agreements were shook on between world leaders in echoing assembly halls. The Anishnaabe were scattered, lonely, and scared. On our knees again, only this time there was no home to regroup at. Meanwhile, the rest of the continent sank into a new era. The world’s edges had been clipped by the rising waters, tectonic shifts, and constant rains. Half of the population was lost in the disaster and from the disease that spread from too many corpses and not enough graves. The ones that were left were no better off, really. They worked long hours, they stopped reproducing without the doctors, and worst of all, they stopped dreaming. Families, loved ones, were torn apart in this new world.”

The excerpt from The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline, published by Cormorant Books Inc., Toronto, (Copyright 2017 © Cherie Dimaline) is used with the permission of the author and the publisher.

For more about the author

Cherie Dimaline is a member of the historical Métis community of Georgian Bay in the territory now known as Canada. On her website, her biography states: “I come from hunters and women who told stories and made their own remedies when they weren’t purchasing salves from the ‘peddler’ who would come across the Bay once in a while. Some remedies used holy water from the Shrine in town, others used water collected from the Bay on Easter Sunday. Many were based around onions and pine. To this day, my family hunts and harvests.” Dimaline is the author of six books but The Marrow Thieves, published in 2017, was declared by TIME magazine one of the best books for young adults of all times, among other prestigious prizes that the novel received in North America.  This science fiction novel for teenagers presents a future when Indigenous peoples are being hunted for their bone marrow. Dimaline presents an eclectic group of characters that get together and collaborate to hide from the danger; at the same time she presents the social and environmental problems that have led to the dystopian context of the novel’s reality. The second volume of this saga, titled Hunting By Stars, came out in 2021. 

The Marrow Thieves © Cherie Dimaline ~ Siwar Mayu, June 2022

A Selection of Contemporary Gunadule Literature

Photograph of a mola from Sue Patricia Haglund’s mola collection

Introduction, selection and translation from Spanish © Sue Patricia Haglund

Texts by Gunadule authors © Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule, 

© Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza,

 © Cebaldo Inawinapi De León, 

© Atencio López, 

© Kinyapiler Johnson González, and 

© Maninaindi R. Roldan. G

If you prefer to read the PDF, please CLICK HERE

To be Gunadule is to be Gunayala and to be Abiayala/Abya Yala

Baba and Nana are supreme beings, our creators.
Abiayala/Abya Yala, known as saved territory and land of blood, is also as our brother, Dad Neba Nelson de León Kantule says, Abiayala/Abya Yala represents spaces “of fullness."
Abia - blood
It comes from the dulegaya language, dule language or also known as guna or Gunadule
Abe/Ablis is blood – and the word, Yala-land, mountain, continent, territory.
blood land; spilled blood and life blood.
Abiayala/Abya Yala is solidarity and collective, with collective solidarity we are similar to the earth, a land of fullness and life,
To understand the depth of Abiayala/Abya Yala, it is more than the four stages of the evolution of our worlds, it is the memories of our stories of Babigala, of Baba and Nana, of Ibeler and his siblings, they are stories of chaos and unification, of Biler and Ibeler, therefore, for us Dules, it is about relational positionalities.
Abiayala/Abya Yala exists.
It is not about ‘the Americas’. It is more.
Abiayala/Abya Yala, has always been alive and present.
Abiayala/Abya Yala is the evolution of development with collective solidarity, not the chaos of destruction, because as in the words of our brother, Marden Paniza, Gunadule musician and composer, it is to remind us that mer burgwega anmar namagge “we sing to not die” and in these we sing.
Anmar di, we are water
Anmar yala, we are land and mountains
Anmar ari, we are iguana
Anmar achu, we are jaguar
Anmar yaug, we are turtle
Anmar bansus, we are hummingbird
Anmar Abiayala
We are land of blood
Land of spilled blood, blood of life
We are a land of fullness
And we don't lack anything


Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule*

Napguana Asociation

Indigenous peoples, development and Environment

After the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992, it was a historic event for indigenous peoples and their rights in relation to the environment, where it recognized the indigenous peoples and their communities to the care of mother earth that they have been doing and the use of the environment. The importance of traditional knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples was recognized and the international community (states) committed to promote, strengthen and protect the rights, knowledge and practices of indigenous peoples and their communities.

Indigenous peoples continue to be targeted by those who promote alleged developments with globalizing plans, which in the long run further harm our precarious living conditions. All this happens in a convulsed world, where internal wars or wars between states are becoming a habit. In the same way, wars between the powerful (transnational companies) are reasons for the displacement of indigenous peoples in subhuman conditions, when they discover minerals, when they want to build hydroelectric plants and others, in our territories. (There are plenty of examples in Abya Yala (Abiyala), (America), the case of the Kuna of Mudungandi, in Panama, the Bayano hydroelectric plant, and the construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric plant.
Talking about development for the Indigenous Peoples does not only mean talking about investments and cooperation brought from abroad, it means, first of all, the recognition of their culture and traditions, which also involves respect for the ancestral technology with which our Peoples have survived.

Faced with this reality of the great changes mentioned, we indigenous peoples face these challenges and we have to prepare for those to come, without renouncing our roots or the principles that our ancestors bequeathed to us. Taking up the teachings of the great sages of our history, our identity, adapting them to the reality of the present, to project into the future.

It is time for the indigenous peoples to plant their own model, based on our organizational dynamics, with political, socioeconomic, cultural, religious, territorial and autonomy approaches, in short, the claim of our specific and collective rights, based on solidarity, equity, historically underestimated by the Uagas (non-indigenous).

We are not against development, we want development and remain indigenous. What we do not share and we do not agree with are the impositions of the Western development model, which have proven to be inoperative, outdated, which have caused ruptures and considerable damage to our political and social structures of our peoples. These models imposed on our peoples, migrations, changes weaken our cultural identity. The Uagas (non-indigenous) will always see the indigenous peoples as an obstacle, a barrier to development.

The indigenous peoples, in general, have a long experience in the management of natural resources, since we have lived since time immemorial in direct contact with nature, obtaining from it the necessary benefactors to satisfy our needs. Even though they have not defined the concept of sustainable development, they have been putting it into practice for many years.

Indigenous peoples have lost much of their territories in the name of development, and are at risk of further losing ancestral lands and sacred places, many of which contain the richest biodiversity in the world. Governments that have joined the Convention on Biological Diversity have an obligation to enact domestic laws or amend their constitutions to ensure the participation of indigenous peoples in the conservation and sustainable use of their environment.

I wonder what forests, what biodiversity do our countries sell or negotiate to redeem their foreign debt? We have rich forests, minerals, fresh water, seas, if we sell everything today, tomorrow we will also be poor and we will not have them to bequeath to our future generations, therefore we cannot say whether to make any investment thinking about today's hunger.

We indigenous people are going to accept investments in our region without any problem, as long as the investors are honest people and want to share the profits with us, those who do not make our brothers work so as not to pay them later... those who do not hide behind the politicians in power to insult an indigenous culture, those who have the patience of the indigenous authorities in the negotiations. We are aware of the wealth we possess, but the world does not end tomorrow and there will come other relatives of ours who will thank us for not having exhausted everything at once of what our Napguana (Mother Earth) bequeathed to us, mother of all development if we love and preserve it, or simply from human misfortunes, if as their children we do not know how to respect them.

All the demands of our peoples are fair and legal in light of international and national laws, agreements, treaties and other instruments that speak about the rights of indigenous peoples. We can mention a concrete example with the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, art. 32. Paragraph 2. The States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent before approving any project that affects their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, use or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources.

But the full recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples is not given clearly in all countries. For this reason, true recognition and not only on paper or laws, is the essential starting point to change along the path towards full development. Which means that we indigenous peoples have the full capacity to carry out our own development and that we are given this opportunity.

We only ask for the opportunity to at least be given to chart and choose our own destiny, based on our principles and cultural values, which have so far proven to be valid in our communities.

The main characteristic of indigenous peoples, unlike Western society, is that social systems are based on help, mutual protection, brotherhood and solidarity. That they do not need to be written in voluminous codes that in the end are not fulfilled, it is in daily practice that our people make it a reality, it is our way of life. Both the social, political, economic and spiritual aspects of life are vitally linked forming a unity.

For all that has been said above, I continue to maintain the principle of my Kuna teachers, for our parents, naskued (development) means producing the land and learning traditional knowledge for the benefit of all and not of a few, not to be rich individually, but to share it with everyone.

This value has kept us going despite the many changes that are happening in indigenous society. The Kuna cultural identity is still alive, will continue to be alive, as long as our peoples live together. The strength of our culture has persisted throughout history; the entry of some imposed models in the region has changed some things in our communities, and even so, it has not been able to change our being, we will continue to be Kuna.

This path is essential, considering the active participation of indigenous peoples, such as the Ngäbe, Kunas, Emberás, Nasos, Wounaan, Buglé, Bri-bris people.

Thus the participation of women, youth, the elderly and others. Whose contribution will allow the construction of a more solid, harmonious, and representative legal basis, the result of which will be a fairer and more balanced society, in the same way, the political will and tolerance of all the actors, to understand and accept the existence of this diversity of peoples. indigenous in Panama.

For peaceful coexistence and the construction of a true democratic society, it is essential to recognize and give value to the existence of indigenous peoples with their different values and interests, as well as to respect and tolerate those historical values and interests that distinguish us from others. Logically, a mere moral recognition is not enough; in a country like Panama, where different cultures coexist, it must be reflected in its legislation, in the constitution. There should not be a group that imposes its own norms and values of conduct and behavior on others.
* Dad Neba: In the Kuna indigenous language, it means, "Grandfather of the Plain", with that name identifies Nelson De León Kantule, Kuna indigenous communicator / Director of the Napguana Association. E-mail: and


Photograph of a mola from Sue Patricia Haglund’s mola collection

Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza


I want to talk about the strokes
of my body
From the traces where I come from
From the source that drives
my starting point

Of my first spiral line
of my heritage as an indigenous woman
of my rebellion, my nahua and my mola
of the courage that runs in my veins
from Grandma Carmen and Mom

Let the strokes penetrate
my body
talk about heritage and our
From sisters Bertha and Marielle
let me scream and love

I want to trace my body again
and again
drink from the inna*
feel the holy river
get tangled up again in my strokes
plot and plot
until starting with the end point,
like spiral

*inna: corn juice, drink

El Luna 1925 and Wewe

Another night, one of those nights
Of love
where cries are whispered
sadness, tears and more tears
They shake and shake the sweat

Wewe*, try to flap the humidity
And with basil in their mouth
gives peace of mind
stop so cruel
action, outrage
and rape.

Their wings flap
And they calm the pulse
ears try to hear
forget, that one
Crescent moon

Their eyes when sinking give the message
the voice that comes from their wings
soothe the soul,
brother moon,
whisper to Wewe
Let's sing

*wewe: variety of small cricket that abounds along the coasts; sand flea.

Photograph of a mola from Sue Patricia Haglund’s mola collection

Cebaldo Inawinapi De León


An Di! 
An Di!
Water we are. Water we will be!
In a Kuna village a girl is born, and the midwife sings, the grandmother sings, they sing: We come from the water and with the water. Born from the fertile liquid of the placenta, which will later be fertilizer and will be sown (placenta and umbilical cord) in generous land, blessed by rain.
The girl grows up. One day, her body tells her that life is fruitful and for several days, the women of the village will bathe her daily in a surba –a sacred house made of leaves, words and a lot of love-, water and her and the words of the accomplices. and her desires and her dreams traveling through this sacred territory: her body!
Water and Word, tattooing puberty!
The woman goes to the final journey, the poet sings to her of her days and nights, and she receives the perfumed bath of flowers and plants and the last journey will be in the river of her youthful loves and planted in the generous forest... and she begins to navigate the sacred river that will guide her to the final Matria.
Water we are! The Greater Poet sings
Water we will be! The village sings.
A fruitful liquid brings us - in loving waters we love and create - and in a generous liquid we travel to the Final House!

Our Great Poets sing that a fine and magical thread unites, sews the waters of the rivers, the seas, the trees, the forest, the earth and its inhabitants, building a great network, balancing and harmonizing the sounds, colors and the fruits of the earth.

We are all One!

Song and art that our greatest creators, the Kuna women, have understood in a wonderful way, when they sew their dresses, their molas with colored fabrics where they tattoo their dreams, their desires, their stories and charms that come out of the left side of their chest and glide to the tips of the fingers.

And they continue it today, in these urgent times, their children, their grandchildren…harmonizing sounds, colors and dissonant things.

It is part of the larger network, of the universal fabric, balancing sounds, colors and flavors, and if one day part of the network breaks, we must quickly fix it, sew it, so that we can continue walking and rocking in this Universal Hammock, our Great House, Earth.

who orders the time? It is not the clock, it is the Word, it is the Language (I know I read it in some enchanted page of a beautiful book or in a song in some marine village) and it takes me on this urgent flight, to my days in the Big House, in the marine village, when the Great Poet, the Sagla sings and counts the days of the village, of the tribe, of the Earth,

because what inhabits and tattoos us is the time of speech, of words, of enjoyment, of the verb...reinventing worlds, word by word, creating magic...!



Photograph of a mola from Sue Patricia Haglund’s mola collection

Atencio López


I try to look
clouds and birds
at sunset,
but I couldn't.

my eyes blinded
delve further into
childhood memories
they won't come back

happy existence
in their laps
my future was formed
my hope.

of my life defoliate
flowers, dreams,
to accompany me

From the beach, sea,
I feel that something
turns off
I go around the world
carrying love,
and about them
I have to sleep

I feel love
but it overwhelms me
deep sadness
I hope the tears
wash away that bitterness
and may dawn
by your side
making love…


Nothing to celebrate
October 12th
start date
to genocide ever
in the history of mankind.

One hundred million human beings
led to the stakes
slaughtered and killed
in the name of god and the bible.

Kings of Spain
believing saviors of the world
inundated with human scum
our continent
human garbage
that wanted to delete
indigenous history.

From graves, forests,
rivers, seas and lakes
the slaughtered face
of grandmothers and grandfathers
they emerged to sully
Western pride, European pride
Abya Yala writes her own
history with an indigenous face
to the sound of the cry of


With music from ancient times
to the sound of flutes and maracas
I come drunk among fish
ocean smell
I bring before your altar
algae and flowers
that I pulled out
from the bottom of the sea,
I want to cry in your arms
And take your aromas and tenderness
to other worlds where I can
tell love stories
born on islands and beaches
under the raging sea
and a harsh sun.
Love of tanned faces
by saltpeter and starry nights,
memories and legacies
of our warrior ancestors.


From Sue Patricia Haglund’s mola collection, this mola is made by Rosa Lidia Gallardo, Sue Patricia Haglund’s cousin. The crab and fish mola is made by Gunadule mola-maker, Rosa Lidia Gallardo (granddaughter to Juan Gallardo, who is the brother of Sue Patricia Haglund’s grandfather, Ricardo Walker.)

Kinyapiler Johnson González


Suddenly the rhythms of troupes are heard,
the tunas**,  going up the street and down the street;
slippery ones come out on any street,
signal that the carnivals have arrived in Bannaba (1).
While, in the spirited and seductive Caribbean,
on the islands of the Tule Republic,
with pride the flags of the revolution are hoisted;
is the month of Morginnid e iba (2) is arinii. 
I have my red cotton shirt,
the urigan (3) are painted “enraged achiote”;
the fangs and hearts of jaguars, 
the claws and beaks of eagles came together.
The uprooted molas were stained with blood that day,
rings and winis (4) prohibited 
and scattered throughout the archipelago.
Forbidden to forget that date, tattooed on our hearts.
The jars of gabir (5) kicked and broken,
the braziers extinguished by boots,
the forbidden rituals,
split hammocks…
Never forget us companions,
that this country cost us blood
and it was not a gift from any government.
Alert, alert brothers,
Gabidamalargeee... (6)
Today the jars of the revolution
are fermented on each island,
to toast peace
to the heat of the totumas de gabir.
Today like yesterday we share that joy
together with our people,
because our eternal young warriors of 1925
planted their old hunting shotguns with a single shot,
but accurate as Igwaoginyabbiler's arrows,
the archer of the best marksmanship, brother Venus;
so that today his children and grandchildren can enjoy
and enjoy what we have...
¡Noggasdde, iddomalando, sioggooooo…nagase! (7)
Let's shout and toast with our grandmothers and mothers.
* arinii = iguana moon (month of February)
** the tunas = groups of people with song and music who dance in the streets with a drum ; dance and other instruments during the Panamanian carnival.
1. Morginnid e iba = Red Shirt Month
2. kuna warriors
3. beads
4. strong fermented drink
5. do not sleep
6. Kuna Toast: We have the gourd, let’s try, cheers…bottom’s up!

DIIANAI  (dulegaya)

“Iawala ganaggwa agdededi yalabali, 

Dada Nagibelele bega ulusumba sie nasaye, 

nue daggedi yalabali yee…” 

(Inicio del verso de Aggwanusa adaptado por mí, en el original dice “Pato Diolele”, donde digo: “Dada Nagibelele”

y en parte me inspiro en ese tratado de Aggwanusa, 

está dedicada a alguien muy especial).

Iawala gwenaddiye, bedi an idusad
nega sagla unni; andi bese gormaggenai,
be gammu ganse be ulusumba billinganba.

Inaulu dagge yobi bedi maigudeye,
gwena benunis nalleguemaisuli;
nii ulu obaggemaid ilaba nega duubali.

Nana Olonubdiigili, be ordiidina 
aryomegisa, ber gungidagge yobi; 
agddarmaggemai be ana gandi.

Nana Maninubdiigili, be maninisdii
suurmaggemai, ber maniale 
ber manidaggeyobi.

Nana Inanubdiigili, be inadii
wawadiggi ber inabisebdili yobi;
goggedili, nunabdili bunnogemainie. 

Nana Igwanubdiigili; be ganngued,
be sabed anga ugge;
bargaegala be nunis maniga sademalad.

Be inaulu wawanmaggemai nie;
suemola bedi yoemai,
be burba, Nan burba mogir inbaba.

Oloeaidiili be suggedi dinnaguemai,
anmar nuggi, gwenad an be daggsuli;
anai dii emi be ibagi, an bega soge Anna Diianai.


Big brother river, you who are before me
since the beginning of time; I invoke you,
to your tributaries to your subterranean origins.

You who cross like a great medicinal canoe,
giving away your milk to everyone
in each trip of the moon in its canoe through the sky.

Mother Olonubdiigili, your golden liquids
they travel, and fall radiant as gold on their way;
in your shining tributaries.

Mother Maninubdiigili, your silver liquids
They run and shine like silver
like argentas on the road.

Mother Inanubdiigili, your fragrant
medicinal waters such as essences of basil;
breaths of goggedili, nunabdili.

Mother Igwanubdiigili; give me your strength
and your love; to stop the merchants
who profit from your milk.

Your trembling medicinal canoe is;
with a rainbow mola outfit,
your strength, spirit of the Mother among the clouds.

Oloeaidiili your stream is drying up,
because of us, I no longer see you as a sister;
My friend water today, I tell you Anna Diianai (hello friend water).

Poetry 01


is the full moon

on your moon,

it’s your smile 

in my sadness,

it’s dawn

in my sunset,

poetry is the blossoming

of the dilla at dawnby dillanii… *

* dilla [dil´la] in Kuna (language) is palo santo plant, and dillani [dil´lanii] is the palo santo moon or the month of March.

Poetry 02

Poetry is the delicate

Kuna woman’s hands

that transform the threads and fabrics

in multicolored verses in their molas

at sunset in Kuna Yala.

And in her early mornings

her calloused hands lift the hot pans

to prepare breakfast

to the future slingshot rebels,

heirs of February 25.


Maninaindi R. Roldan. G


The universe and
their hugs manifest
in designs
in black symbols
in alchemical forms.

There are hidden truths
in its geometry / lines that join us

The recipient skin of legacies
serves as a fragile canvas
where they rest from their long journeys.

It is in it that they live/migrate/mutate
               	they return to being simple cosmic lines.

Next to my memory you are

You are the force that sustains my struggles
The hug that protects me from strangers

Your old war is today my shield
/ My award
Your flag ⎯symbol of rebellion and courage⎯ is my spear
That's why I thank you dear grandfather who inhabits my memory
That's why I thank you dear grandmother for your sacrifice

Today as children of February we fight to deserve your name
To rock the Matria that so many of us love

I wave the flag of rebellion
                              of the sacrifice
                                                  and life


We have the season of the hummingbird.

A season of sighs.

A season of echoes and nostalgia.
Of jar and song.

And in that space where time sings
you are the point of this hour

the minute in the cloud.

About the Gunadule Authors

Dad Neba Nelson De León Kantule is a Gunadule essayist, scholar,  and activist. His name, Dad Neba, in the Kuna indigenous language, means, “Grandfather of the Plain”, with that name identifies Nelson De León Kantule, great grandson of Nele Kantule, Kuna indigenous communicator / Director of the Napguana Association. E-mail: and

Taira Edilma Stanley Icaza is a Gunadule activist, poet and scholar. Taira graduated from the Bachelor of Science in Education with a Post-graduate degree in Higher Teaching. She is a member and activist of the Kuna Youth Movement (MJK) and other international indigenous organizations. She went to Bolivia to study for her master’s degree at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés and works at the Office of Indigenous Peoples at the University of Panama.

Cebaldo Inawinapi De León is an author, artist, poet, and Gunadule anthropologist born on the Island of Usdub, Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama. Inawinapi lives between Portugal and Panama and is the author of the book My First Tree: An Sabbi Iduged (2019). He is also the protagonist in the film, Panquiaco, and is part of the documentary, LucíaMor: La Mola de Lucía. Learn more about Inawinapi here.

Atencio López is Gunadule from the Autonomous Region of Gunayala, Panama. He is an author, poet, and attorney for Indigenous, Commercial, Criminal, and Civil Law. He studied at the Faculty of Law and Politics at the University of Panama and obtained his Master’s Degree in Commercial Law at the Universidad Interamericana de Panamá. For several years, Atencio has held various positions in Panamanian and international indigenous organizations. Learn more about Atencio here

Kinyapiler Johnson González is a Gunadule poet, artist, and cultural activist. He was born on the island of Usdub, Autonomous Region of  Gunayala, Panama. He studied at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Panama. In addition, Kinyapiler served as administrator of the Guna General Congress on a few occasions, is a member and activist of the Kuna Youth Movement (MJK), and a founding member of the Ibeler Wagan Theater Collective.
Maninaindi R. Roldan. G. is a Gunadule poet, artist, and psychologist born on the island of Usdub, Gunayala, Panama. He studied at the University of Panama and has a degree in psychology. As an artist, he participated together with the Igar Yala Collective in the making of the film Burwa Dii Ebo (The wind and the water), an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival 2008. He is the author of the book, Demonios en mi desierto (2019).

For more about Gunadule art and literature

More about Sue Patricia Haglund

She is a Gunadule poet and scholar from Panama and the U.S., and holds a PhD in Indigenous Politics from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She researches the works of contemporary Gunadule poets whose poetry reflect the cultural metamorphosis of the actualized transformation of Gunadule oral tradition and poetry that speak against colonialism and empire. Her poem, “Conversaciones con mi abuelo,” was published in the first anthology of Gunadule poetry, Antología de Poetas Kunas (Panama City, 2015), and she has published several book chapters in edited volumes, including Indigenous Interfaces: Spaces, Technology, and Social Networks in Mexico and Central America (2019).

A selection of contemporary Gunadule literature © Sue Patricia Haglund ~ Siwar Mayu, May 2022

Shunku-yay / Looking at Each Other Through the Infinite of the Heart. Samay Cañamar M. 

Shunku-yay / Mirarse en la eternidad del corazón
© Samay Cañamar M.

Translation from Kichwa © Fredy A. Roncalla

Ilustrations © Manai Kowii

If you prefer to read the PDF, click HERE


Shunku-yay arawi kamuni, runa shimipi, mishu shimipi killkashka kan. Ñukanchik allpa mamata kuyashpa charinamanta rimapan, shinallata runa warmikunapa kawsaymantapash riman.

Shunku-yay / Looking at Each Other Through the Infinite of the Heart is a collection of poems in Kichwa and Spanish that was born as a cry for empathizing with sacred Mother Earth as well as with the body of Indigenous women and their reality.


Kallari willkay

kikin achiklla muskuywan,
kay munayta, kay shimita, kay rurayta watachinayan.
Allilla, kikin sumaklla ukuman yaykunkapak.

Kikinpa samaywan kay ñankunapi kumpatukunayan,
kucha manyakuman yaykunayan,
urku chakikumanta puri kallarinayan,
chakra manyakumanta tarpunayan,
kikin wasi ñawpakuman kimirinayan.

Minkachiway apukulla.
Minkachiway allpa mamakulla.
Kikin chaskikkunaman willapaylla. Mayllak shunkumari shamukuni,
upalla supaykunawanmari minkarimukuni.

Minkachiway, sumak kawsak samaylla, willka kuskalla.
Kikin wasiman, mayuman chayamunimi,
kuri allpakuta kay shunkuwan takarinkapak shamupanimi.

Minkachiway kikin ukshakupi, kikin apu pintukupi,
paktalla muskuykuta karawankilla,
usharinalla ushaykuta mikllachiwaylla,
tukuy llaki kawsayta kaypi uriyakuchichun sakiwaylla,
kikinpa rimaypi rikcharinkapak,
shinashpa samashkatapash tullpushpa sakinkapak.

puyu killpamukpi,
inti llukshimukpi, 
tamya urmamukpi,
kikin rimamukuwankimi yasha.

(Kallari willkay)


I ask for your permission

to enter into your realm

while I gently gather my desires

acts and words

with clear dreams.

I wish to talk about your time

in these paths,

arrive to your lake’s edge

get closer to your house’s entrance

and start my path 

at the foot of  the mountains.

I ask for your permission, dear Apu.

Give me permission, dear Mother Earth.

My body has been getting ready

and my soul wants some rest.

Welcome me,

sacred place that gives breath

to good ways of living.

I am arriving to your house and your river

to touch you, blessed land, with this heart.

Let the deepest dreams come

blessing me with your powers.

Let me go beyond all my tears

and wake up in this conversation

full of colorful and breathing words.

With the rain coming down

I will hear your words

talking to me.

© Manai Kowii

Ñukanchik allpa mamaka tawka kawsak apukunata, samaykunatapashmi charin, paykunapi tukuy pachapi kawsamushka kan. Kay wakakunaka, hatun ushaykunatami charin, hatun samaykunatapash, chaymi paykunapa wasikunaman yaykunkapakka, minkachiway nishpa yaykuna kashkanchik. Shinami paykunata rezashpantin, takishpantin, rimachishpantin yaykuna kanchik. Urkuman rikushpaka, minkachiway ninami nishpa hatun taytakunaka yachachishka kan. Ima chakrata tarpunkapak kallarikushpapash, minkachiway nishpa yaykuna kashka ninmi hatun mamakunapash. 

Chashnami shuk wakakuta minkachiway nishpa kallarikrinchik. Wakakunaka mana warmillaka kanchu, mana karillaka kanchu, shuk shuk ushaykunami watarishka paykunapika, wakinpika warmi, wakinpika kari, shina rikurin punta rimaykunapi, shutikunapi, ima ruraykunapipash. 

Mother nature/allpa mama is constituted by several bodies and time-spaces or pachas. Sacred territories or wakas with their own powers, where we cannot enter without first asking permission, through prayers, greetings, chants, whistles.

Minkachiway is the beginning of an entering ritual to a space. The grandfathers say minkachiway when they start walking at the foot of a mountain. The grandmothers ask permission for announcing the arrival at a chakra/crop. The nights before a purification bath ritual, one reaches the water spring by saying minkachiway, just as one announces her own arrival to someone else’s house.

This is how we now enter a waka or a sacred place such as our apus, spirits of the mountain with diverse powers beyond the feminine and masculine, personified in names, actions, and stories.

Warmi Imbabura 

Urku apu

Uksha pampawan killparishka warmimi
kuyaylla yana ñawiku, kalluyashka makiku,
tukuy wiwakunapa, yakukunapa, apu warmi.
Kikin umapika, Illull kuchata,
Chakishka kuchata,
Hatun kuchatapash chashkikunki,
paykunaka tamyapa ñañakunami
pakcha tukushpa, urku umakuta Wayku Chupakaman shamunakun.

Urkumanta hatun apu, hatun warmi kanki.
Uchilla michik wawakunata pampapi pukllachinki,
yana pumawan rimarishpa kawsashkanki,
atukkunaman alli rikuna ushayta karashkanki,
kikin wakakunapi sumaklla ushaykuta allichinki.

Intika paypa chawpi ñanpi kakpimi,
allpa samay pachata wayrawan kushilla takinki.
Kikintikukunaka kikin willayta aparimunmi,
waykukunaka chashkinkapak ashtawan paskarinmi.
Tukuykunami kikin apu punchapi kushiyanakun.
Kikinka kutin, pakta pakta kawsayta 
ashankakunapi churashka shuyanki.

Imbabura woman

Mountain deity

Covered by grasslands

—deep eyes and working hands—

you are the great mother of children

animals and rivers.

Your summit is Lake Illull,

Lake Chakishka,

Lake Hatun.

Their waterfalls and the rain

come down 

valleys and crevices.

Great woman, 

you come from inside the sacred spaces

play with the shepherd girls,

live talking with a black puma,

teach the foxes certain powers,

and keep the magic in your wakas.*

The sun is at the middle of his path

and you sing with august winds.

The hummingbirds bring us your message

and the valleys open up to receive us.

This day all the apus* celebrate.

You hold a well balanced basket

and wait for us.

* wakas and apus are sacred spaces, especially mountains

© Manai Kowii

Ñukanchikka, sinchi ushaykunami kanchik, wayrakuna, ninakuna, yakukuna, allpakunapashmi kanchik. Chay ushaykunataka wakinpika mana riksishpallatami chinkaririnalla kanchik.

We are also spirit that mutates within air, fire, wind, water, mother earth. An infinite force that very few of us manage to experience fully.

Samaymi kani

Samaymi kani.
Kuyurishpa, mirarishpa ashtawan kuyurik.
Sinchilla, tinkushna tantarik, tukyarik.
Paypantin mirarishka tullpushka puchkashna kawsakuk.
Paypura chimpapurarishka,
tukyarishka, mushukyarishka samay.

Ñawpamanta churu laya muyurishka kawsay
shamuk pachamantapash
kuntur yuyaywan sinchi watarishka.

Wayrapa shunku kani
kikinman samayta karakuk;
tukuy manchanayaylla uyariktapash mishkilla uyayta karak:
shuk taki sami shina
asha asha kay pachapa yuyayta takarishpa purik.

Pukyu ñawikushna kuyaylla kani,
urku apukunapa kasiyashka kawsay,
akapanashna kuyurikuk allpa
maytapash pawakuk ushay,
upalla kawsaypipash ima ninata allichishka.

Hatun sumak ushay kani
pachawan awarishka muyuni, 

I am vital energy

I am vital energy.

One that grows moving.

I am strength and confluence.

A renewed energy

standing up

and exploding.

My life is the spiral of the past

and what comes ahead

tied up by the wisdom of a Condor.

I am the heart of the wind

that nurtures your vital energy

and makes the tremors of fear

sound gently.

I  am like a spiritual song

touching all the memories of the universe.

I have the beauty of a fresh water spring

of quiet mountains

vast and exalted lands

and silence.

I am young and beautiful.

I go on clothed by the land.

Moving on and on.


Imatak kan killkanaka niwarkami
Chayka imashachari nanay shunkuta tuksimurka, yuyaytapash, makitapash nanachirka.
Chay yashka kipaka nirkani;
Killkashpaka ankashnami kay kawsaypi muyurini…

Shina nishka kipapash, uchilla kaspishnallami ukuta upalla tuksimukurka.
Punta kawsayta yarishpa llakiyarkani,
Imatapash chushayachishka shina karkani.

Punta watakunapika, tullukaman chayaktami waktashpa llikata killkanata yachachishka.
Shuklla apunchikmanta nishpa sarumushka,
Shuk shimillami tiyana nishpa. Shuklla runakunallami allikuna yashpa.
Ñukanchik yachaykunataka kuchushpa, ñuka wasi allpata nallikachishpa.
Tawkalla sami kawsaykunata wañuchishpa.

Imasha chay llika kanchikman chayamushkata yarishpa, imashalla ñukanchik pampakunata, awashkakunata, makikunata chushayachishkata rikuni,
tukuy puchkakunapa, kururukunapa samaykunata llakini.
Chay kawsaykunataka ñuka ñawika mana rikurkachu, shinapash ñukapakunami kawsarka.

Kunanka tapurinimi, maypitak ñukanchik killkayka.
Chayta yuyakpika, chumpikunami wasi ukuta warkuriyanakun,
chaykunapi puchkawan shuyurishkakunami rimawan,
ñuka hatun mamapa akchata watakuk cintami rikurimun,
ñuka hatun taytapa awashka katanami ukllamuwan,
ñuka anakupa kinkukunami kumpanakuwan.

Kutin imashpata killkanki nishpa tapukpika.
Ñuka yuyaykunata hampinkapak nimanmi.
Punta punchapika tullutapash nanachishka llikami
kunanpika ñuka shimiwan awarishka, samayachishpa kayman chayman llukshikun. 

To write

They have asked me: what is writing?

A heartfelt confusion spread across time,

memory and my hands.

After a few seconds I answered: 

Writing liberates me.

But there was a splinter silently bothering me.

I was swamped by nostalgia

and emptiness. 

Growing in the mist of memories

an ambiguous voice screamed inside

Bringing rain drops to my face.

I know that at one point in time 

the alphabet was forced upon us punch by punch.

With a God, lord,

King, and language, 

that would mutilate knowledge and sweep my gardens

killing diversity.

Thinking about the origins of this alphabet 

I can feel how they emptied my fields, weavings and hands. 

I feel the threads and their designs are no longer there. 

It’s a loss that my eyes did not see but was felt by my people.

I ask myself: where is our writing?

And hanging from the roof

there are weavings appearing in front of me:

figures drawn with wool thread,

the band that holds grandmothers hair,

the manta that my grandfather did with his life,

the zigzag I carry in my skirt.

If they were to ask me again why I write

I would repeat: to heal memory and remembrance.

Now I am healed with what at one point tied our bones.

I now write with their letters. 


Samay Cañamar M., warmi kichwa Otavalomanta, yachachik, feminista, shinallatak psicoterapeutami kan. Arawikunatapash, ima killkanatapash ashtakata killkanata allikachinmi. Shinallatak runa warmikuna imashalla kawsaymantapash ashtakatami rikuchinkapak munan; feminismoskunamantapash.

About the poet

Samay Cañamar M. is kichwa from Otavalo, Ecuador. She is a university professor, a feminist, and a psychotherapist. She writes in Kichwa and Spanish, and  is interested in Indigenous feminisms, and contemporary struggles of women and feminized bodies. @tsay.samay

More about Samay Cañamar M.

About the translator

Fredy A. Roncalla was born in Chalhuanca, Apurimac, Peru in 1953. He has studied linguistics and literature, in addition to a long journey in Andean Studies, with a special focus on aesthetics. He is also a handcraft artist who works with recycled materials. He has published poetry and essays in diverse online and printed publications. He is the author of Canto de pájaro o invocación a la palabra (Buffon Press, 1984); Escritos Mitimaes: hacia una poética andina postmoderna (Barro Editorial Press, 1998); Hawansuyo Ukun words (Hawansuyo/Pakarina Ediciones, 2015); and Revelación en la senda del manzanar: Homenaje a Juan Ramírez Ruiz (Hawansuyo/ Pakarina, 2016). He is currently working on Llapan llaqtan: narrativa y poesía trilingüe/ Llapan llaqtan: trilingual poetry. His trans-Andean projects can be found in the virtual ayllu: Hawansuyo Peruvian Bookstore,, and

Shunku-yay / Mirarse en la eternidad del corazón © Tsaywa Samay Cañamar M.Translation from Kichwa © Fredy A. Roncalla 
Siwar Mayu, May 2022

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