Where and How the Guarani and Kaiowá Commit Suicide in Mato Grosso do Sul: Confinement, Jejuvy and Tekoha

Pamela Staliano Marcos Leandro Mondardo Roberto Chaparro Lopes About the authors

The territory for the native peoples is fundamental to the health and cultural re-elaboration of their ways of being, in the link between nature, culture and relations of power/resistance. The right to live or die is connected to territoriality in the struggle for land. The objective of this work was to analyze where and how the suicides of Guarani and Kaiowá occur in contemporary times. A qualitative research with documentary analysis of reports published in the newspapers with the largest circulation in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul was performed. The search was carried out in 23 newspapers, but only 12 of them presented news with the theme, combining the descriptors: Suicide, Guarani, Kaiowá, Indian and Indigenous. A sample of 100 reports that reported 105 suicide occurrences between 2002 and 2018 was composed. Data reveal that violence is frequent in the indigenous reserves where the Guarani and Kaiowá were confined in the south of the state. The cases are concentrated in villages in the municipalities of Dourados and Amambai, mostly among male young adults between 12 and 22 years of age. The eminent majority (95%) committed suicide by the practice of hanging (jejuvy). The causes for suicide range from explanations guided by cosmology, the spell, cultural forms of dying, deterritorialization of their tekoha, and marginal economic insertion. Considering the alarming data, it is suggested the creation and implementation of indigenous CAPS, with the involvement of institutional actors, such as Sesai and the Municipal Health Secretariat, as well as religious leaders, Ñhanderu and Nhandecy.

Suicide; Guarani; Kaiowá; Health; Tekoha


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