Covid-19 kills last male survivor of Amazon tribe, ends lineage
An Amazonian tribe has been wiped out by Covid after its last male member died from the virus.
Aruká Juma, of the Juma tribe, died due to complications caused by coronavirus on February 17.
The last head of his indigenous tribe left just four female members behind, ending his lineage.
An estimated 15,000 people were in the Juma tribe in the 18th century when their existence was first recorded in the deep Amazon rainforest, the Independent reports.
It is believed the virus was spread to the tribe by miners and loggers entering their territory illegally.
Mr Juma’s daughters Mandeí Juma, Maitá Juma and Boreha Juma and a girl are the surviving members of the tribe.
His daughters said in a statement: “Our father fought a lot, he was a warrior, and his fight we will continue”.
Mr Juma died due to complications caused by Covid-19 on February 17 in a Brazilian hospital in Pôrto Velho, the capital of state of Rondônia.
He was aged between 86 and 90 and had travelled for two hours on a boat followed by a 75 mile drive to the hospital.
The coronavirus crisis has hit the indigenous people who live in the Amazon disproportionately.
His three daughters have all married into a different tribe so cannot carry on his lineage.
Raphaela Lopes, a lawyer with Justiça Global, told NBC: “We have been witnessing the end of indigenous peoples, like, literally the last members of certain indigenous communities are dying and there are no successors.”
There have been 50,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among indigenous communities, and 900 deaths – according to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, which tracks and advocates for the country’s Indigenous movement.
The Juma tribe’s numbers fell to around 100 members by 1934.
A massacre 30 years later left just six members of the tribe alive, including Mr Juma and his brother-in-law, who died in 1999.
The Federal Prosecutor’s Office of Rondônia said in a statement: “In the mid-60s, the Juma people were almost extinct due to the massacres that other relatives suffered in the previous decades by rubber tappers, loggers and fishermen in the territory, which is on the banks of the Assuã River, in Canutama.
“Aruká was one of the survivors of his ethnicity. The indigenous man leaves three daughters, the last people of the Juma ethnic group: Mandeí Juma, Maitá Juma and Boreha Juma.”
Brazil has the world’s highest per-capital Covid death toll after the US, with more than 282,000 deaths and more than 11.6 million cases, according to health ministry data.