Tupinambás resume planting thanks to Emergency Support from CESE

“With the staple food baskets donated by CESE, some communities feel comforted and empowered to resume the production process and planting”, says Haroldo Heleno from the Indigenous Missionary Council – East (Conselho Missionário Indigenista: CIMI-Leste), demonstrating the seed effect support from CESE has prompted in indigenous communities in the south of Bahia.

The project “Emergency Support to combat COVID-19 in indigenous areas in the south and extreme south of Bahia” was supported by the Emergency Fund to combat COVID-19, leading to the acquisition of 250 staple food baskets, which have so far benefited 22 Tupinambás communities.

The missionary noted that the priority areas are those of the Tupinambá Peoples from Olivença and Belmonte in the south of Bahia, who are in greater social vulnerability due to social isolation resulting from the pandemic.  “Today in the region we have approximately 5 thousand Tupinambás confined to their villages and many families have already begun to feel the pinch, due to the difficulty of maintaining basic living conditions” he reported.

The focus of activities are therefore those communities that live on the coast and basically survive from selling handicrafts and fish.

So far no government aid has reached the villages, despite claims having been made, Haroldo protested. “The National Indian Foundation’s (Fundação Nacional do Índio: FUNAI) position has been to promise to send staple food baskets, but this is quite a doubtful promise, given the foundation’s and the Federal Government’s attitude to indigenous peoples,” he reported, adding that they had also not had a response to requests made to the State Government though the Department of Justice and Human Rights.

Supplying the primary needs of these families is the direct result of CESE’s support in the form of staple food baskets.  The missionary also reflected on how the support network of organizations that work in the field of rights is crucial at this time and should not stop.  “We [CIMI] have been working with the communities that live off their production supporting a return to their fields. Many of these, such as the Tucum and Serra do Padeiro, have expanded their production, their experiences and [increased their chances of] survival, based on the food they produce.  And this has had results” he proclaimed.

“We are seeing communities focusing on planting watermelon, beans, pineapple, corn”, Haroldo proclaimed, demonstrating the power of one-off support to support the existence and future resistance of indigenous peoples.  “The benefited communities have had been able to resume planting, their production, more quickly. And this has been extremely important,” said the CIMI missionary, with thanks.