The first days of May have been extremely hard for indigenous peoples. A Covid-19 pandemic grows every day throughout Brazil and has hit us violently in recent months, because we are in the group most vulnerable to this disease. We, from the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), registered until May 11, 77 deaths and 308 indigenous people infected by the disease. Altogether, there are 34 Indigenous peoples directly affected by the disease and most cases are in the Amazon region.
It is frightening the speed with which we registered the increase in cases of deaths among indigenous peoples, in just over a week we identified over 49 deaths of our indigenous relatives – reaching the average of four deaths of indigenous people per day.
The month of May is pointed out by specialists as the period of greatest contamination of the disease and about 81 thousand indigenous people from 230 territories are threatened by the new coronavirus, according to the study. The Bolsonaro government has not adopted effective protection measures and has also published two actions that aggravate violence against indigenous peoples: Provisional Measure 910, which is being voted on in the National Congress; and Funai Normative Instruction No. 09, published on April 22. Both measures serve the interests of agribusiness and favor the land grabbing of our lands.
In the last week we also had some victories by the indigenous movement: The Supreme Court suspended all judicial processes of repossession and annulment of indigenous lands during the Covid-19 pandemic and suspended Opinion 001 that used the timeline to block demarcations.
We, from APIB, held the National Assembly of Indigenous Resistance on 8 and 9 May to create a plan to face the pandemic in the lives of indigenous peoples, as a way to ask the Government to adopt urgent measures. We created a national committee, along with our grassroots organizations, to monitor the records of Covid-19 cases among indigenous peoples to report cases that are being made invisible by the Government, which does not monitor or register indigenous people living in the urban context.
“In times of pandemic, the collective struggle and solidarity that has rekindled in the world will only be complete with indigenous peoples, as the cure will not only be in the active principle, but in the activation of our human principles”. Excerpt from the Assembly’s final letter.