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(Data updated on June 29, 2020)

The first mapping of confirmed cases of Covid-19 among indigenous peoples in Maranhão, carried out by Rede (CO) VIDA / Coletivo Mururu, was published on June 5, 2020. At the time, our base date for updating the cases was the May 31, 2020. We are completing a month since the beginning of this project. As a collective, we are willing to map and qualify the data that had been released by state agencies and entities linked to the indigenous cause.

On May 31, 2020, we reported eighty-nine (89) indigenous cases registered by the Municipal Health Departments. On the previous day, SESAI registered seventy-six confirmed cases (76). Of these, seventy-three (73) had active virus infection. At this first moment, even without publishing the data from SESAI, but always consulting their bulletins, we noticed a mismatch in relation to the data and we started to ask ourselves how the dialogue between DSEI / MA, SESAI and the Municipal Health Secretariats was being built. It is good to remember that a large part of the secondary and tertiary care of indigenous health is carried out in the municipalities incident to the indigenous lands and in which the indigenous are referred by the base poles.

The question above about the dialogical relationship between DSEI / MA, SESAI and the Municipal Health Secretariats, if not yet answered, has been guiding until now to qualify the data of the indigenous health agencies, since these data do not speak of people, neither land nor tongue. In other words, they do not speak of the degree of contamination of peoples based on their specificity. Which people are being contaminated in Maranhão and have a higher lethality rate? How can we put together a control action plan for Covid-19 if there is no clear epidemic picture that plagues the different indigenous lands and territories?

Based on the data recorded by these agencies, we would not have names of peoples, except in some cases, only areas and villages. It is these inexplicable gaps that we seek to map in order to know which indigenous peoples and lands are being referred to when registering “villages” and “indigenous areas” instead of peoples. It was following the trail of the villages that we mapped the data on June 21, 2020, already with the peoples belonging to those villages and with a significant increase in cases.

The data we bring in this new bulletin recorded cases mapped until June 29, 2020. As you can see in the graph below, there is an evolutionary growth in the number of indigenous people infected by the new coronavirus.


Between May 31 and June 10, 2020, we had a 225% percentage increase in confirmed cases, from eighty-nine (89) to two hundred and ninety (290) records. Between June 10 and 21, 2020, a percentage increase of 84.48%, two hundred and forty-five (245) new cases in eleven days. In the latter record, seven hundred and thirty-eight (738) cases are observed. This represents two hundred and three (203) cases more than the June 21, 2020 monitoring, which out of five hundred and thirty-five (535) cases. An increase of 38% of confirmed cases in one week.

In this new publication, following the proposal to try to qualify the data, we were able to relate the reported villages to their respective Indigenous Lands, as shown in the table below.


In a more detailed analysis of these latest data, we found that on June 19, 2020, a total of eighty (80) confirmed cases were recorded among indigenous people of the Tentar / Guajajara people who inhabit the Rio Pindaré Indigenous Territory, in the municipality of Bom Jardim. On the 22nd, that number dropped to thirty (30). We still do not know if this quantitative drop is only related to recovery (clinical cure and / or home remedies) or if there are some cases of indigenous deaths, since city halls do not make this discrimination in their data. A week after this decrease in confirmed cases, they grew again among these peoples. Now, there are forty-eight (48) cases of contaminated indigenous people in TI Rio Pindaré.

Among the Apaniekra / Canela people there was a significant increase in confirmed cases. If at first (June 21, 2020), three (03) cases were recorded, on June 29, sixty-four (64) cases appear between them. In percentage terms, a 2,000% increase in Covid-19 cases. The Apaniekra / Canela inhabit TI Porquinhos, in the municipality of Fernando Falcão.

The Memortumré / Canela people, better known as Ramkokamekra / Canela, inhabit TI Kanela, municipality of Fernando Falcão. Regarding the number of cases confirmed by the coronavirus, there is an increase from forty-five (45) to seventy (70) infected people between the 21st and the 29th of June, in the village Escalvado. In relation to the Old village, also of the same people, there was a decrease in the number of cases. From thirty-five cases (35) on June 21, it dropped to twenty-eight (28) cases on June 29, 2020. Regarding the Tenthar / Guajajara of TI Bacurizinho, municipality of Grajaú, an increase of 07 cases was identified of contamination, from 25 to 32. Among the Tenthar / Guajajara, we had new cases registered at TI Morro Branco (02) and at TI Urucu Juruá (02), both registered by SEMUS de Grajaú.

The tryhar / Guajajara that inhabit the Cana Brava / Guajajara TI, in the municipality of Jenipapo dos Vieiras, are those that have a much higher level of contamination than the guajajara of other TI's. On May 31, there were no recorded cases among them. As of June 10, there were already eighty-seven (87) confirmed cases. On June 21, one hundred and seventy (170) cases. In this last monitoring, on May 29, there are already two hundred and sixty-four (264) confirmed cases among the Tenthar / Guajajara that inhabit these lands. In percentage terms, an increase of more than 200% in less than 20 days.

In the Krikati TI, municipalities of Montes Altos and Sítio Novo, in addition to the Krikati people also live indigenous people of the Desafio / Guajajara people, who inhabit a village within this land, called Recanto dos Cocais. In terms of contamination by the coronavirus, the Krikati presented on June 10, thirty-eight (38) cases of contamination. On June 21, there was an increase of nine (09) cases, accounting for forty-seven (47) krikati contaminated by the virus. With the data updated for May 29, there was an increase of three more (03) cases in the village São José, adding up to a total of fifty (50) cases among the krikati. Regarding the tryhar / Guajajara that inhabit TI Krikati, the first cases of contamination by the virus are presented in this last mapping (June 29), a total of two (02) registered cases.

We continue to monitor the municipalities that affect indigenous lands, but that do not register cases of Covid-19 among this population. In total there are 29 municipalities that have this direct impact. The question remains: do they not register cases of contamination by the new coronavirus among the indigenous people of these municipalities because in fact there are no cases to be registered or is it omission and / or denial of the indigenous presence in them?

The same question belongs to the municipalities of the island of São Luís, respectively, Raposa and São José do Ribamar, with the Tremembé people (Tremembé da Raposa and Tremembé do Engenho), which are not counted in these municipalities due to their specificity. The same is true of the Gamela of the municipalities of Viana, Matinha and Penalva, who are also made invisible as indigenous peoples, thus disregarding the right to self-declaration of peoples as determined by Convention 169-ILO. Both Tremembé and Gamela do not yet have a land demarcated by the State.

The Maranhão State government continues without inserting indigenous data in its daily epidemiological bulletins. In addition, DSEI-MA / SESAI continues without giving the necessary visibility to the situation of indigenous people in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. Thus, we reiterate that this stance of the federal government's indigenous policy endangers the existence of indigenous peoples and the perpetuation of their ways of life.

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