A tribe of Indians in the South of Brazil, the Kaigang Indians, blocked access to their village to avoid contagiation with coronavirus precedent from the nearby city of Lodrina, in Paraná. Londrina has registered around 700 cases and 33 deaths of contamination and Indians fear that visit to their village may spread the virus among the tribe.
The community closed access of the main roads and established controllers, Indians with masks and alcohol gel, to screen those who pass by. No case has yet been confirmed in the village. About 1,900 Indians live in the reserve.
Another tribe, in the North of Brazil, in Roraima, had already settled an initiative to control access to their region. According to the Roraima Indigenous Council (CIR), at least 25 communities of the 241 where the institution operates had already blocked traffic and prohibited outsiders from approaching.
The Indians actions happen despite government authorization and in autodefense, as the actual government of Bolsonaro announced fight against Indian’s rights. During the presidential campaign, Bolsonaro said he would not demarcate any indigenous lands if elected – and has kept his promise. Bolsonaro argues that indigenous lands should be opened up to large-scale economic activities, such as mining and agribusiness. The goal is to authorize large-scale agriculture in indigenous lands.
According to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), there were about 900 thousand indigenous of more than 250 different ethnicities living in 13.8% of the national territory in 2010, when the last Indigenous data was collected. The contact that followed the white man would have decimated about 95% of the Brazilian indigenous population over history.