XACRIABÁ COMMUNITY MONITORING OF COVID-19

The Xacriabá Indigenous Land Community Monitoring for Covid-19 (MC-TIX) began with the urgent need to protect the Xakriabá people and their elders against the dissemination of Covid-19. The initial mobilization was instituted in March 2020, during the Internal Council of Chiefs and Leaders, in which it was decided to install blockades at the entrances to the territory, and restrict access to non-residents of the TIX. From the need to manage the territory and control possible infections, the Community Monitoring system was implemented. It was supported by an intercultural network formed by the Xakriabá and researchers from UFMG-IFNMG/UFPA/Univ. Sheffield. Its main objective was to produce information to help the local health service in identifying, tracking and quickly combating the disease. In this process, the inter-institutional research team supported the Xakriabá indigenous community to create, collaboratively, tools to fight Covid-19. With time and the advance of the pandemic, community mobilisation brought to light the need to deepen the production of information and knowledge aligned with community management actions in the territory, involving indigenous practices related to health, education and economics.

 

The mentioned issues were worked over in Working Groups (WGs) open to traditional peoples, which had the participation of leaders, health agents, teachers, as well as young students or not. Strategically, the team of UFMG - Federal University of Minas Gerais - with the support of partners from IFNMG - Federal Institute of Technological Education of the North of Minas Gerais - divided the work into the following themes: 1) Management of the Territory and Economy, 2) Education and Health and 3) Systematisation of Experiences in Monitoring and Counter-cartographies, with this WG divided into three workshops: Workshop of Systematisation of the Monitoring and Production of Materials' Experiences; Workshop of Consultation to the Database; and Workshop of Map Production. These WGs had more than 120 traditional peoples enrolled. Participants were allowed to choose to accompany one or more groups. The work was carried out entirely by remote channels, in particular via Google Meet and WhatsApp from March to June 2021. In addition to these groups, the monitoring experience led to the creation of WG App(lication) focused on the development of an application that facilitate records at future times.

(Summary text of MC-TIX 2021 – produced by the collaborative team of indigenous and non-indigenous researchers from UFMG and IFNMG).

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Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

PERSONAL TESTIMONY

Mr. Hilário Corrêa, village Barreiro Preto leadership in an online meeting, 23/10/2020

“[...] when it comes to the issue of autonomy, at the same time that the sanitary barrier, the monitoring itself, is happening, there are periodic meetings of chiefs and leaders. Even with a smaller volume of people, it did not stop happening. Precisely with this concern before, now and after. And the pandemic itself was something that came unexpectedly, of course, for everyone. But it also helped us as traditional people to begin to regain our thoughts, about our autonomy. This monitoring was necessary at that time, [but] it leads me to remember many that were done years ago when the invasions of the country estates, the fights with the squatters, at the time of the greatest confrontation, of the struggle that happened here. We always talked about it. That much should be resumed so that we can better protect ourselves. And this monitoring, it was necessary for us to reflect well on this. Starting also with our own survival here in the territory. Remembering that we, like our relatives out there, are no longer managing to live from hunting and fishing as it was before, of course. We work a lot with farming, agriculture and animal husbandry, right? But that is not enough. [We have been thinking about] how to manage our territory. Produce a little more, because the population is growing, but without major degradation"

Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

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Pictures from Edgar Kanaykõ Xakriabá

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Traditional Peoples Xacriabá Land

GENERAL OVERVIEW

The Xakriabá Indigenous Land is located in the north of the state of Minas Gerais, southeastern region of Brazil, especially in the municipality of São João das Missões. Our Xakriabá people are identified as belonging to the linguistic branch of Macro-Gê, family Gê, subdivision Akwê. The Xakriabá identity is characterised by the mixture of different cultural elements, especially those that designate the forms of resistance of our identity. Among these, body painting, traces of the Akwen resumption present in traditional songs and rituals, the expression of orality with marks of melody, the strength of words and dialogue, as well as forms of self-organisation and political strategy stand out. The Xakriabá population is estimated at around 11,000 indigenous people, living in 35 villages, of which two are in the process of being retaken. Today we occupy only one third of our traditional territory, with a demarcated and approved area of ​​54 thousand hectares. The purpose of the resumption is to expand the territory, thus allowing us to have access to the São Francisco River, very important in our history. Although we live in this region of northern Minas Gerais facing the challenge of drought, we have a strong relationship with the territory. The relationship we have with the territory is not a relationship of the earth as matter, it is an ancestral relationship of the territory as body and spirit (Text by Célia Xakriabá, 2018).

CORREA, Célia Nunes (XAKRIABÁ, Célia). O barro, o genipapo e o giz no fazer epistemológico de autoria Xakriabá: reativação da memória por uma educação territorializada. 2018. 218 p. Dissertation (Professional Master in Sustainable Development) – University of Brasília, Brasília, 2018.

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