Indigenous Brazilians cancel ceremonies due to Covid-19 fears

Indigenous Brazilians cancel ceremonies due to Covid-19 fears
Native Brazilian men during the Brazilian Indigenous Games. Photo: Marcelo Camargo/ABr

After two confirmed Covid-19 cases in the Xingu National Park, at least three indigenous groups decided to cancel the traditional Kuarup, a ritual involving all the communities to pay their respects to the dead in the months of June and July. Other communities are also considering postponing the ceremony and adopting quarantine measures, such as avoiding trips outside of the community and blocking outsiders from visiting.

The Xingu National Park is home to around 7,000 indigenous persons, split into 16 communities. The communities of Kuikuro, Yawalapití, and Kamaiurá decided to not take part in the ceremony after Chief Vanité, from Sapezal village, and his son tested positive for Covid-19. Other suspected cases are being monitored. 

As this Live Blog reported on June 9, 218 deaths have been recorded in Brazil’s indigenous communities and the communities of Xingu are implementing further measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The goal is to isolate the communities, but there are also plans to provide them with food and build local health centers, so they can gain access to healthcare without risking infection by traveling to neighboring cities.

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