A banned Indian island: Watch video of Sentinelese tribe rejecting attempts at communication

Surprisingly there has been only one instance when outsiders didn't have to face a hostile reception.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: April 8, 2017 10:10 pm
After numerous failed attempts to make contacts with the Sentinelese tribe since 1964, the Indian government has finally backed away. (Source: YouTube grab)

A rare footage of the Sentinelese, one of the last uncontacted tribes in the world, has emerged, showing its members on the beaches of North Sentinel Island in Andaman & Nicobar. Thought to be direct descendants of the first humans who emerged from Africa, the tribe is believed to be living on the tiny Indian island for almost 60,000 years. Little is known about their exact population and could reportedly have as low as 40 members or as high as 500.

Efforts to reach out to them have been met with hostility and there are several horror stories of how Sentinelese have treated their guests. People return from the island either injured or not at all. In 2006 two fishermen, aged 48 and 52, were killed after they slept overnight in their boat near the North Sentinel island.

They were hostile even during emergency rescue missions after Tsunami in 2004 as gifts, food and clothing are of no importance to them. A photo was captured of one of the tribesmen taking aim at a rescue helicopter with an arrow.

According to a video footage which is a part of a documentary by LoveBite Productions on the Sentinelese tribe, an Indian anthroplogist T N Pandit who conducted several government trips to the island in the late 80’s and the early 90’s in an attempt to reach out confessed, “Sometimes they would turn their backs and sit on their haunches as to defecate. This was meant to insult us as we were not welcomed. It doesn’t matter if you are a friend or an enemy or you arrive at the island’s shores by purpose or by accident, the locals would greet you the same way with spears and arrows.”

Surprisingly there has been only one instance when outsiders didn’t have to face a hostile reception. On January 4, 1991, 28 people which included men, women and children approached Pandit and his team saying the tribe voluntarily came forward to meet them. However, after numerous failed attempts to make contacts with them since 1964, the Indian government has finally backed away. In 2005, the administartion of Andaman & Nicobar stated that they have no intention of interfering with the lifestyle of the Sentinelese tribe or pursuing any further contact with them. Also, the Indian navy enforced a 3 mile buffer zone to keep tourists and explorers away.

For all the latest Lifestyle News, download Indian Express App

  1. A
    Anurag Sharma
    Aug 17, 2017 at 1:36 pm
    Please Let them live as they want, If they have survived for more than 60,000 isolated then they can live for more longer time. It is very disheartening that their Population has reduced drastically in few decades. It is very strange that even neighboring tribes consider the Sentinelese language utterly incomprehensible suggests that they have maintained this hostile isolation for hundreds or maybe even thousands of years. I like one thing that they are very much unique creatures on planet in 21st century.
  2. N
    Nancy Folk
    Jun 16, 2017 at 12:46 am
    Leave them alone. If they have lived there 60 thousand years with out us let them continue to live the way they know. If we were to expose them even to the common cold it could kill them all. I think the Indian government has the right idea. Leave them alone.
  3. M
    Manvi Tayal
    Apr 12, 2017 at 7:44 am
    They must be protected from outside hostility but together with that we should not interfere in their lifestyle as all developmental process make tribes an alien in their own land...GoI first of all work for the welfare of other tribes who are suffering from alienation from the colonial era and through these case studies also they will be better able to contact with these tribes and also leaving them alone is not a good option.... Specially in this changing political and ecological environment where power and wealth has dominated all other needs of the society..