The indigenous organizations of the Brazilian Amazon mourn the death of the last warrior of the Juma, a people practically exterminated by the killings, animal attacks and diseases that they have suffered over the last decades. And now, Covid-19 has killed the only remaining man of the Juma, 86-year-old Amoim Aruká.
The indigenous warrior died in a hospital in Porto Velho, capital of the Amazonian state of Rondonia, where he had been hospitalized since February 2 due to complications from the new coronavirus, according to the Kanindé Ethno-environmental Defense Association. The corpse of Aruká will be buried in Humaitá.
In the wake of the pandemic
Indigenous organizations criticize the lack of protection suffered by the Juma people
The Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIB) has explained in a statement that the Juma reserve, where Aruká lived with her daughters, grandchildren and sons-in-law, was one of the lands protected by the sanitary protection barriers to the indigenous communities as a result of the pandemic. However, he has criticized that the Bolsonaro government did not materialize all the necessary protection measures to prevent the Covid from reaching the Juma.
In this sense, it has detailed that a single access control post was installed on the Trans-Amazon highway. “Whether the access post worked or not,” says the organization, “no longer matters for Aruká.” And remember that both COIB and the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) had been warning the Bolsonaro government for months of the risk that the indigenous people ran.
Extermination of the Juma
From 15,000 members half a century ago to just 3 members today
The same sources have explained that five decades ago the Juma had 15,000 members. However, a series of killings at the hands of invading miners and landowners, animal attacks and lethal diseases drastically reduced the population to just four people this year: warrior Amoim Aruká and his three daughters, who married members of the Uru-Eu-Wau-Wau people and therefore their grandchildren no longer have the pure lineage of the Juma.
The Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB) has highlighted that Aruká achieved in 2004 the demarcation of indigenous lands despite the fact that its people at the end of the last century were very decimated.
The death by Covid of the last man of the Juma indigenous people is not an exceptional case. Brazil, which is close to ten million confirmed cases and exceeded 242,000 deaths from the new coronavirus this Wednesday, registers 42,881 infections and 567 deaths caused by Covid-19 among its indigenous peoples, according to official figures.