Daniela Catrileo, born in Santiago de Chile in 1987, is a writer, artist, activist, and philosophy lecturer. She graduated from the Universidad Metropolitana de las Ciencias de la Educación with a degree in Education and Philosophy. She organizes literary workshops, is an active member of the Mapuche collective »Rangiñtulewfü« and was a fellow of the Chilean Ministerio de las Culturas, las Artes y el Patrimonio in 2012, 2016 and 2020. Catrileo is committed to the rights of Chile’s indigenous population. In 2018, for example, she collaborated with filmmaker Rocío Chávez García in Santiago de Chile to create a multi-part intervention titled »Mari pura warangka küla patakamari meli: 18.314«. The action addresses the injustice done to the Mapuche by the anti-terrorism law 18.314, passed in 1984 during the Pinochet dictatorship.
As a writer, Catrileo has so far made the greatest impact with her poetry. The title of her first book of poetry, »Río Herido« (2016), comes from her own last name: »Catrileo« is a Hispanized form of the Mapuche word »katrü lewfü«, which means »injured river« or »río herido«. Catrileo traces the migration of the Mapuche who moved from their southern settlements to the north of the country, making the river a metaphor and symbol for the Mapuche’s loss of identity and continued resistance to eradication and assimilation. This was followed by »El teritorio del viaje« (2017; tr: Traveling Territory), the digital publication »Intervertebrada« (2017) and the volume »Guerra Florida / Rayülechi Malon« (2018; tr: Flourishing War), for which Catrileo was awarded the Premio Municipal de Literatura in the category of poetry by the city of Santiago de Chile in 2019. Her most recent publication, »Piñen« (2020; tr: Layered Dirt), is the author’s first volume of prose. It brings together three stories set in the post-dictatorial nineties on the capitalist »periphery of the periphery« of Santiago. They are about death and violence, pervasive racism and abuse, inequality, and female Mapuche identity. Catrileo employs a sensory-visual and symbolically charged prose that relentlessly exposes the hostile conditions of the time and the parallels to Chile’s present. The texts were written before the Chilean protests of October 2019, yet according to historian Claudia Zapata Silva, it is »a literary work from the trenches of the counterculture […] that deserves a prominent place in the already nascent archives of revolt.«
Daniela Catrileo has also published numerous articles and essays in Chilean and Argentine newspapers and magazines. She lives in Valparaíso de Chile.