Bodies of indigenous people buried in Boa Vista will be sent back to their communities

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The Yanomami Special Indigenous Health District (DSEI-Y) – a decentralized management unit of the Ministry of Health’s SasiSUS (Indigenous Health Care Subsystem) – is preparing the exhumation of at least eight bodies of buried indigenous people diagnosed with suspected Covid-19 , at Campo da Saudade cemetery, in Boa Vista, in the state of Roraima.

The remains will be transported to their communities of origin to receive a traditional funeral rite and be buried by relatives.

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The action is a result of requests from indigenous leaders that resulted in a recommendation from the Federal Public Ministry of Roraima (MPF-RR) and a civil inquiry, both in December last year.

A CNN had access to a document signed last Thursday (06) by the District coordinator for Yanomami Indigenous Health, Rômulo Pinheiro de Freitas, in consultation with the Secretariat of Labor and Social Welfare of Roraima (Setrasbe) about the possibility of providing operational support in the exhumation of the bodies of the indigenous people so that the transfer can be carried out. The orientation of the MPF-RR is presented as a justification.

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Among the considerations contained in the letter made by the Attorney General, Alisson Marugal, who originated the action, it is highlighted that “unlike society, the ritualistic practice of mourning occupies a central space in indigenous cosmology, and the adoption of an incompatible action is extremely costly. with its sociocultural repertoire, such as the practice of burying the body away from the community of origin, with burial in urban cemeteries”.

Technical opinions from the Technical Advisory Committee of the Department of Sanitary Surveillance of the Municipal Health Department of Boa Vista and the Legal Medical Institute of the Civil Police of Roraima are also presented, attesting to the feasibility of exhuming and transferring buried indigenous bodies.

In the end, Marugal requests that three recommendations be followed and care with biosecurity measures.

For the president of the Yanomami Indigenous Health District Council (CONDISI-Y), Júnior Hekurari Yanomami, it is very important that these bodies arrive in the community so that the rituals can be performed, because it was a great embarrassment for the families.

“I knew three, four indigenous people who will return, one is from my community. I am very happy, because the lack of the funeral ritual had a great impact on the relatives. We never went through that,” he said.

The most recent Epidemiological Bulletin of the Special Secretariat for Indigenous Health (Sesai) – an agency linked to the Ministry of Health – counted last Monday (10), 57,000 indigenous people infected by Covid-19 and 857 dead throughout Brazil.

In a note sent to CNN, the Secretary of Labor and Social Welfare of the State of Roraima (Setrabes) reported that “because they are mortal remains, exhumations can only be carried out upon judicial request”. Setrabes says that it does not have a qualified technical staff for this purpose, “since it is not the core activity of this portfolio.”

“Setrabes-RR also informs that, as it is an indigenous population, this competence is exclusive to the Federal Government”, completes the note.

A CNN contacted and awaits a position from the Ministry of Health.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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