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2022 Census

IBGE holds national mobilization to enumerate Indigenous communities and peoples

Section: IBGE | Caio Belandi | Design: Brisa Gil

August 10, 2022 09h00 AM | Last Updated: August 15, 2022 05h22 PM

  • Highlights

  • IBGE sets Indigenous Census Mobilization Day this Wednesday (10th).
  • Date introduces the specific methodology and mobilizes Indigenous leaders.
  • Population Census will visit all Indigenous villages and communities in the country.
  • Previous mapping work identified 632 Indigenous lands, 5,494 Indigenous groups and 977 other Indigenous locations in 827 Brazilian municipalities. Villages and communities not previously mapped will be included in the databases by enumerators.
  • To map these areas, the IBGE used administrative records from other institutions and recent satellite images of very high resolution.
  • Enumerators and the entire 2022 Census team that will work in Indigenous territories underwent a specific day of training.
  • They will also comply with health protocols: vaccine against Covid-19, flu and yellow fever; negative result for Covid-19, face mask and a statement claiming no contact with any person with flu symptoms 10 days before entering the area.
  • Meetings between Indigenous leaders and the 2022 Census team will be held beforehand in the communities to explain what the Census is and to consult them about conducting the survey.
  • At these meetings, the 2022 Census will apply, for the first time, a specific questionnaire to survey the infrastructure conditions of Indigenous communities.
  • Household questionnaires will have questions about ethnicity, languages ​​spoken, civil registration issues, family arrangement, religiosity, disability, education, work, housing, rooms, as well as water, sanitation, garbage and Internet access, among other topics.
  • Peoples in voluntary isolation do not enter the 2022 Census.
  • For the collection, there is a cooperation agreement with partner government institutions such as Funai and Sesai.
  • Community guides and interpreters may be called upon to assist with the collection.
IBGE teams carry out the Census interview approach in the Indigenous village of Tekoa Itakupe, in São Paulo (SP) - Photo: IBGE Collection

Indigenous peoples have organization, habits and rituals of their own. As their lands have specific conditions of access and circulation, it is fundamental to count on the support of Indigenous organizations such as National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) and the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (Sesai). That is why the census operation in those areas takes special strategies. “There is great diversity among the Indigenous communities, even inside the same community. Therefore, the IBGE adapts the way it maps out the national territory so that those settlement modes of the traditional peoples can be represented”, explains the coordinator of the Census of Traditional Peoples and Communities, Marta Antunes.

For mapping out such areas, the IBGE has used as many administrative records as possible to locate the communities under governmental institutions, civil society organizations and indigenous representatives. In addition, the Institute has also used recent high-resolution satellite images.

“That allowed the identification of areas and has qualified the operation as able to enumerate households in the territories, mainly in remote areas”, comments the manager of Traditional Territories and Protected Areas of the IBGE, Fernando Damasco.

The mapping operation has identified 632 Indigenous lands, 5,494 Indigenous groups - which are defined as 15 or more individuals in one or more contiguous houses up to 50 meters far from each other and who are linked by family bonds or community bonds - and 977 other Indigenous localities, in 827 Brazilian municipalities.

The Population Census will visit all the Indigenous villages and communities in Brazil. Enumerators will include communities that are newly established or that were not identified in the mapping phase.

Specific training and health protocols

Enumerators and the whole 2022 Census team that will work in Indigenous lands have undergone a specific training on themes as legal norms, concepts, census mapping, planning, approach and rules of conduct, as well as methodological adaptation in the questionnaires. Specific approach guidelines and a manual designed for the agents working in those communities were handed out.

As far as health protocols go, enumerators or any other team members of the 2022 Census team should be vaccinated against Covid-19, the flu and yellow fever; have a negative Covid-19 test and wear a mask.

First meeting will have specific questionnaire on Indigenous communities’ conditions

As Census teams arrive in the communities, approach meetings will be carried out with the Indigenous leaders, and local guides to support the enumerators will be indicated whenever necessary. “That is when you explain the Census to the Indigenous leaders, presenting the methodology, clearing doubts, showing the work area, discussing the need for guides and interpreters and negotiating the best dynamics to get to the households”, details Mr. Damasco.

Since the first preparation stages of the 2022 Census, there has been open consultation to the organizations in charge of traditional peoples’ rights. The first stages took place back in December 2018, at the IBGE headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. In 2019 several states held other public hearings. According to the 169 Convention of the International Labor Organization (ILO), traditional peoples must be consulted before the implementation of administrative measures that can have a direct impact on them, as it is the case of the Population Census.

In addition to the household questionnaire, the 2022 Census will, for the first time, use a specific questionnaire to survey the infrastructure conditions of the Indigenous communities. It will be answered by the Indigenous leaders in the approach meeting, i. e., before the beginning of the household collection. 

It will have questions about the identification of the leaders, the identification of the communities and infrastructure, such as water and energy supply and the existence of schools, for instance. There will also be questions on education about the language spoken in classes, whether Portuguese or Indigenous languages, the quantity of teachers and the didactic materials used. In this questionnaire, the leaders will also be asked about health matters and about their habits and practices, such as hunting, animal farming and craftsmanship.

The household questionnaires, in turn, will have questions about ethnicity, Indigenous peoples or groups, spoken languages - weather Portuguese and the Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS) are spoken or used in the household, as well as questions about civil registry, religiosity, family arrangements, disabilities, education, labor and others. This booklet will also include questions about the situation of the household, of the rooms and also sanitation, waste and Internet access.

Who are the Indigenous persons living in Brazil?

It should be mentioned that for the 2022 Census, the answer to color and race is self declared. Thus, the matter is about how the residents perceive themselves and the others. In other words, the Census will count as Indigenous those who identify themselves as such.

As the household questionnaire is answered by just one member of the household, the respondent is the one who will declare the race and color of the other residents. Enumerators are supposed to just tread the alternatives “white, black, yellow, brown and Indigenous”, they can never argue or question the self declared answer.

In Indigenous lands, the 2022 Census has a backup question. “It is common that respondents self declare themselves as brown or black because of the color of their ski or because of some document issued”, explains Mr. Damasco. To prevent those misunderstandings in Indigenous lands, the question “Do you consider yourself as Indigenous?” will be applied in those communities, in case of no self declaration of color or race as “Indigenous”.

After the answer “Indigenous” is given either to “color or race” or to the question about land cover, the questionnaire opens to questions of ethnicity, people or group and language spoken in the household. There is a list already prepared for ethnicity and languages, but the enumerator can add to the list any new answers. There is also the answer “unknown”, and up to two or three languages may be registered. “It is important to highlight that the absence of the ethnicity or language information does not change the Indigenous self declaration”, warns Mr. Damasco.

Other relevant aspect is the diversity of situations of the Indigenous peoples that are enumerated by the IBGE. There are communities with permanent contact and others with recent contact. There are still peoples in refuge situation and those that live in groups or sparsely, either inside or outside the territory, in rural areas or even in urban ones. However, voluntarily isolated peoples are not included in the census operation, in respect to their wishes. “The IBGE monitors those areas together with FUNAI, in order to keep away from them and not to disturb them in their living ways”, says Mr. Damasco.

In the 2010 Census, 890 thousand Indigenous individuals were identified, in 305 ethnicities and 274 spoken languages.

Joint actions between entities, communities and the IBGE are essential

Throughout the preparation of the 2022 Census, the IBGE made several consultations to Indigenous entities. For the collection, there is a cooperation agreement with partner-entities as FUNAI and SESAI, as well as municipal and state organizations, to support the work of the team of enumerators.

Community guides will also be used in the collection, so that they can help safely introduce enumerators in all households in Indigenous lands, indicating the best routes, times and approaches. The guides should be community members and can be paid or voluntary workers. “They are very relevant to guarantee full collection coverage and a respectful and calm atmosphere in the communities”, claims Mr. Damasco.

In the case of areas where Portuguese is not spoken, there will be interpreting guides, who will work as mediators between the enumerator and the respondent, making communication easier and interpreting questions and answers.

The Population Census is the only official universal survey for the counting and socioeconomic characterization of the Indigenous population, capable of updating the amounts of individuals, villages, communities, ethnicities and spoken languages. Its results are fundamental for the monitoring of public policies that aim at the protection of the cultural heritage of the Indigenous peoples and the recognition of their social organization, habits, languages, beliefs, traditions and lands.

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