Biography of Lorenzo o "Üñümche" Aillapán Cayuleo (1940-VVVV)

Chilean poet of mapuche origin, considered one of the foremost representatives of the culture of the Araucano Indians who occupy the central area of the Andean country. Author of a beautiful and original poetic production which, in its strictly literary qualities, adds the value of becoming one of the best sources of preservation of the language and the traditions of his people, has been recognized internationally with such prestigious awards as the award of literature in language indigenous awarded by the Casa de las Américas (of Havana(, Cuba) in 1994. Among the Mapuche Indians, he/she is known for his emotional nickname of Unumche ('Birdman').

Inclined, since his early youth, the study of humanistic knowledge and the cultivation of the most diverse artistic manifestations, Lorenzo Aillapán Cayuleo became known as an actor and film producer, although he/she also worked as an anthropologist, craftsman and teacher of mapuche language. Throughout his long and fruitful career of cultural promoter, always oriented to the conservation and propagation of the cultural values of its people, it took an active part in the Foundation and direction of numerous organizations devoted to the defense of the Mapuche interests. Thus, soon became the main spokesperson for these cultural values of their brethren race, but also its just political and social demands. These representation work led him to the most important intellectual forums not only in Chile, but also some places abroad particularly sensitized with the preservation and dissemination of indigenous cultures (thus, v. gr., was very commented in Chile the appearance of Lorenzo Aillapán Cayuleo on the television screens of Sweden, where he/she starred in the documentary entitled Fagelmanen, conducted by journalist Juan Diego Espoeres).

In his facet of writer, Aillapán Cayuleo cultivated for many years the poetic genre, through numerous compositions written in the vernacular language of the mapuches. Within this fruitful dedication to poetry, specialized in a truly original stream: the interpretation of the song of the birds. Among the Mapuche Indians, the interpretation of the silence and the sounds of your environment constitutes an everyday act in its permanent process of integral relationship with all beings and things surrounding them; and, within this process, knowledge and interpretation of the songs of different birds that populate their habitat is part of the ancient communication that, since ancient times, has established the man with nature. Under the aegis of these ancestral customs, Lorenzo Aillapán Cayuleo was the first mapuche who tried to transform this knowledge of his people in an artistic manifestation, clad in the robes of the poetry, offers in his verses a vehicle suitable for imitation, reproduction, and the interpretation of the song of the birds. Hence the own mapuches have baptized his poet with the name of Unumche ('Birdman').

See Chile: literature.

JRF