Sentinelese – The most isolated tribe on earth

Sentinelese

The Sentinelese are the indigenous people of North Sentinel Island in the Andaman Islands of India. One of the Andamanese peoples, they resist contact with the outside world, and are among the last people to remain virtually untouched and uncontacted by modern civilization.

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The people of North Sentinel Island, called the Sentinelese, are considered an “uncontacted tribe,” meaning they have little to no contact with the outside world.The Sentinelese maintain an essentially hunter-gatherer society subsisting through hunting, fishing, and collecting wild plants. They’ve never developed agriculture  they still practice hunting and gathering, like all humans did prior to the development of agriculture about 10,000 years ago.

The precise population of the Sentinelese is not known.Believed to number anywhere from 50 to 400, the Sentinelese have lived in isolation on the island for 60,000 years, resisting attempts by authorities and anthropologists to study their culture and integrate them into the modern world.They are classified as Negritos, a loosely connected group of peoples inhabiting isolated regions in South East Asia, who exhibit physical characteristics more commonly found in Africans, such as very dark skin tone and peppercorn hair.

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In January 1880, an armed British expedition to the island led by 20-year-old Maurice Vidal Portman, the local colonial administrator, arrived to conduct a survey of the island, and to take a prisoner, in accordance with British policy regarding unwelcoming tribes at the time, which was to kidnap a member of the tribe, treat them well and give them gifts, and release them back to the tribe, hoping to demonstrate friendliness. Portman’s expedition of the island is believed to be the first by outsiders.

The Sentinelese appear to have emerged relatively unscathed from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, apparently managing to reach high ground. Three days following the tsunami, an Indian naval helicopter was sent to check on them and drop food on the beach. It was warned away by a Sentinelese warrior who emerged from the jungle and brandished a bow and arrow.

In 2006, Sentinelese archers killed two fishermen who were fishing illegally within range of the island, and drove off the helicopter that was sent to retrieve their bodies with a hail of arrows. The current policy of the Indian government is to leave the islanders alone. There are currently no planned attempts to contact the Sentinelese and access to North Sentinel island is strictly forbidden.

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Unauthorized access to North Sentinel island is strictly forbidden. Any contact not initiated by Sentinelese themselves is also not allowed. The possibility of future contact, whether violent or non-violent  has been discussed by various organisations and nations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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