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Mapping and analyzing the Covid-19 pandemic among indigenous peoples in Maranhão is the purpose of the Rede (CO) VIDA epidemiological bulletins. The first one we published was in a more simplified format, in which we brought a complete table about the cases of the new coronavirus in the municipalities that affect Indigenous Lands (TIs) in Maranhão, with data until May 31, 2020, published by the municipal secretariats of health. This second Bulletin, which we now present, intends to expand the possibilities of analysis, bringing updated data until June 10, 2020.

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At the beginning of the pandemic, the virus circulated, in its great majority, in the great cities of the state, like the municipalities of Greater São Luís, which besides the capital include Paço do Lumiar, Raposa and São José de Ribamar, and other large cities of the interior of the state, as Empress. On February 28, this year, the first suspected cases of the new coronavirus were reported in the State of Maranhão. From March 17, suspected cases began to multiply. From 25 they passed to 72, on the following day, and to 205 on the 19th. On March 20, the first case of coronavirus in Maranhão was confirmed. At the end of the month, the number of confirmed cases reached 52, with the first occurrence of death being recorded.

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The monitoring of the daily figures released by the Government of the State of Maranhão, in the form of Epidemiological Bulletins, made it possible to observe that the virus has spread very quickly among the municipalities of the continent. Even with the lockdown in Greater São Luís and the municipal decrees issued by mayors of different cities in the interior, the number is increasing, including cases of death. Maranhão already has more than 55,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,300 deaths, with a high number of assets (more than 24,000) and almost 30,000 recovered.

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The map below shows the general data of Covid-19 in the municipalities of Maranhão that focus on Indigenous Lands (TIs). It should be noted that in the State of Maranhão there are a diversity of indigenous peoples, namely: Tremembé da Raposa, Tremembé do Engenho, Gamela, Krenyê, Krikati, Pukobyê, Ramkokamekra, Apaniekra, Ka'apor, Awá, Guajajara / Tenetehara, Krepunkateyê, in addition records of peoples in voluntary isolation.

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Considering that the data released by the state government present general figures, without distinguishing the cultural specificity of groups such as indigenous and quilombolas, we have highlighted on the map the different indigenous peoples living in these areas.

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The growing number of Covid-19 cases in these areas has increased the chances of contagion in indigenous communities. The regional visualization of these epidemic data helps us to have a dimension of the impact that can occur on the lethality rate among the people who live there, each time the numbers increase in the municipalities.

In the table below, updated until June 10, 2020, we present the municipalities that focus on ITs in Maranhão, demarcating those that register indigenous cases. It is worth noting that there is an increase in municipalities, in relation to the previous mapping, which bring notifications of indigenous cases. At that time, only 06 municipalities reported cases of Covid-19 in indigenous people in their bulletins, while 23 did not. Now, there has been an addition of 03 municipalities that notify indigenous cases. The timid expansion of municipal notification points to a gap in notification cases. Of the 29 municipalities registered as incidents on indigenous lands, only 09 identify indigenous cases in their bulletins, while 20 do not even make any kind of reference to the indigenous peoples who inhabit their borders. There is, therefore, a deficit of 90% of notification by municipalities of indigenous cases.

In the bulletins of these municipalities, the way in which indigenous cases are presented varies and, in general, bring generic terms that do not respect the specificity of the peoples who live there. The only one to bring notifications for Indigenous Territory is the municipality of Amarante do Maranhão. However, it is information that does not care for the diversity of peoples, or even for a more precise reference about the villages that have had confirmed cases. Arame, notifies indigenous cases by “Indigenous Area”. When taking as a reference that such a municipality affects two Indigenous Lands, it is difficult to know which of them the data refer to, as well as, which people. Others, such as Barra do Corda, Bom Jardim, Fernando Falcão and Montes Altos continue to use the term “village (s)”, but do not even mention indigenous peoples and / or lands. Grajaú, Jenipapo dos Vieiras and Sítio Novo also present the cases by “villages”, but these make up other generic denominations such as “Rural / Indigenous Zone”, “Indigenous Zone” and “Localities”, respectively. Finally, they still disregard and / or ignore the specific and differentiated way of referring to indigenous peoples from their land, their people and their village. Let's see:


We follow, in the table, the categories of framing of Covid-19 cases according to the World Health Organization (WHO): Suspected or Under Investigation, Notified, Confirmed, Monitored, Recovered, Deaths and Discarded. The registered indigenous cases are among the confirmed numbers, but these data are not qualified. We do not know the situation in the treatment process: are they in family isolation? Hospital? Of the cases considered “confirmed”, that is, “active”, how many have already recovered?

In our initial mapping, 6 municipalities presented cases of Covid-19 among indigenous peoples in 8 locations in their epidemiological bulletins. In the latter map there are 9 municipalities and 27 localities. In the table below, we highlight only the municipalities that notify the cases of Covid-19 among indigenous people and the numbers expressed in the bulletins until June 10.


In the first mapping, which we did on May 31, 2020, we surveyed 89 cases, distributed as follows: Amarante in Maranhão (13), Arame (23), Bom Jardim (20), Grajaú (01), Montes Altos (05) and Sítio Novo ( 27). In the data updated until 10.06.2020, the numbers of these municipalities grew significantly, with the exception of Sítio Novo: Amarante (17), Arame (70), Bom Jardim (34), Grajaú (12), Montes Altos (11) and Sítio Novo (27). It should be noted that in this update, up to 10.06, three more municipalities reported cases of Covid-19 among indigenous peoples: Barra do Corda (01), Fernando Falcão (31) and Jenipapo dos Vieiras (87).


We have not yet been able to say whether the significant increase we demarcated in a 10-day interval (between May 31 and June 10) is related to the fact that municipal health secretariats begin to notify from the specificity of (indigenous) peoples and / or why more tests are being carried out in the villages, as informed by the indigenous people.

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With the alarming multiplication of cases of contagion and transmission, the first confirmed and suspected cases of death raised fears in the villages. So far, two cases have been reported to us in the Rio Pindaré Indigenous Land, Guajajara / Tenetehara people. Other Covid-19 national mapping networks among indigenous peoples have pointed to a case of death among the Krikati people and another case that they describe as "unidentified". However, we are unable to obtain reliable data on this information. As for the Krikati people, the Mururu Collective in contact with indigenous people from the central village, the São José village, they denied the existence of deaths by Covid-19 among their people. It is important to note that municipalities do not identify indigenous deaths in their bulletins. These are identified in a generalized way without ethnic identification.

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Concerns about the advancement of this pandemic become more latent when combined with the risks of contamination by garimpeiros, loggers and land grabbers, present in most of the State's indigenous lands, as well as the federal government's disregard for indigenous peoples and, in particular , with the control of the epidemic. The lack of an action plan for the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 among indigenous peoples by the federal government increases the lethality rate in a population historically vulnerable to epidemics. Not very different is the picture of indigenous peoples who have not yet completed their demarcation process, as is the case with the Krenyê and Gamela, or who have not met the demands for ethnic recognition by the State, as well as the Tremembé.

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In this way, Coletivo Mururu reiterates the importance of the Rede (CO) VIDA as a project that has sought to map this data and give visibility to the seriousness of this pandemic context experienced by indigenous peoples and underreported by government agencies at different levels. For this reason, the dialogue with other networks and, especially, with the indigenous peoples and supporters themselves is becoming more and more urgent and necessary. Let's go!

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