Wayuu Literature from Venezuela


Wayuu Literature from Venezuela in LALT No. 10:


"Borders are Lines that Fade Away in the Desert" by Ana María Ferreira

In August of last year, we had the opportunity to publish a dossier of indigenous literature dedicated to contemporary Wayuu literature written in Colombia in LALT. Within the texts we published, there were evident and repeated allusions to the Wayuu people “of this side” and “of that side,” paraphrasing Cortázar, since the Wayuu community lives in the desert of the Guajira on both sides of the northern border between Colombia and Venezuela.

This community’s binationality serves as evidence of the arbitrary nature of national borders and exemplifies once again how political borders divide territories that, socially and culturally, are one and the same. The Wayuu, like almost all communities that live along a border, tend to jump over national boundaries regularly, and the ties that bind the community are stronger than the governments of either country...


"The Great Wayuu Nation Is Possible" by Estercilia Simanca

I was looking for her, and I love the beautiful girl from Winkua for many reasons. One of them is her name: Jayariyú, or “Jaya” as we call her, which evokes my little sister’s original name, Jayarra. I look for her because of her writings, and because of the assurance she gave me when I saw her face for the very first time. I told myself, “she is my friend, but she still doesn’t know it, she doesn’t know me, but I will make her know me and we will never be apart.” Just like with some other friends that life has given me, sisters from different wombs, we knew we were going to be friends for life.

Because of Jayariyú, I knew one way to come together as one Indigenous Community was to call ourselves the “Great Wayuu Nation.” We were looking for legal ways to transcend nationalities and trace a gentler and kinder path for those who, unlike us, don’t know their rights...


"Jaya" by Weildler Guerra Curvelo

Over a decade ago, while I was preparing a conference in New York City for an indigenous researchers meeting, I was examining photographs that could help me illustrate the paradoxes surrounding the historic region known as La Guajira. One of them showed the sinuous lines resembling sandy rivers that furrowed the face of an old wayuu lady, another one showed the lush face of a young indigenous writer who was in charge of a very promising media station in Maracaibo. I thought to myself, these are two guajiras; one garners the history and knowledge of a millennial culture, while the other reflects the capacity of that same people to respond in a creative way to an ever changing universe...



"Five Unpublished Poems from Dulce diosa de los ríos" by Jayariyú Farías Montiel

If you could string up your neck
With the braids you wove slowly
You would
If you could paint your blood green
And dye red the blue sea
You would
If you could put on floral trousers
And pepper the loom with black contempt
You would
If you could bind a quetzal to your womb
And set its wings to the paint brush...


"Five Poems from Crepúsculo Guajiro" by Reinaldo de Fernández

Oh, Sinamaica! How to describe you
Caribbean maiden with indigenous features
Princess of the lake
Spoiled daughter of the sun’s rays
Oh, Sinamaica! How to describe you
Lady of a full head of palms
There I go, traversing your skin
Color of the dunes
Admiring your salt mine smile
An exotic india is what you are, Karouya...


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