A thousand kilometres or so south of India, way out in the Bay of Bengal, there is a small patch of jungle that the outside world calls North Sentinel Island.

No outsider knows exactly how many people live there or just what language they speak.

The people who live on North Sentinel Island are one of the last stone-age tribes.

Throughout recorded history the only direct contact the Sentinelese have had with the outside world has been through the occasional stray seafarer and a bungled series of attempts by the Indian government to bring them into the modern world by plying them with coconuts, fish, and plastic buckets.

All of these contacts were cut by short by the extreme hostility the islanders show towards anyone who sets foot on their tiny island. The shipwrecked sailors and fishermen were killed with arrows before they even got off the beach. The anthropologists sent by the Indian government to try and talk to them very nearly met the same fate on several occasions, and even after years of of brief landings had not been able to get close enough to the islanders to learn anything of their lives except that they had not yet developed any form of agriculture or the ability to light fires.

Concerned about the possibility of spreading disease, and unsure of what exactly the Sentinelese would gain from being brought into the modern world anyway, the contact attempts stopped in the late 90s. Part of the far flung Indian Territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, on the other islands where contact had been made the indigenous people had met the same sorry fate as indigenous people all over the world, and the decision was made to leave them alone.

Although their island was directly in the path of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami it looks as though most of the islanders survived. Aerial surveys reported seeing signs of life and a few different news services carried the story that a helicopter that tried to land on the island while assessing the extent of the wave damage was driven off by a hail of arrows.




Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.