On North Sentinel Island there is a tribe of people who are still hunter-gatherers. This tribe, known as Sentinelese, has a history of being violent towards any outsiders who intentionally or unintentionally come on to their island.

This is why the Indian government, who the Andaman Islands is a territory of, has made it illegal to try to make contact with the natives. This decision came in 1997, a few years after the only friendly contact made in 1991.

Contact with the outside world is even more dangerous for the people of North Sentinel Island. Since the 60,000-year-old tribe hasn’t been in contact with the outside world, they are vulnerable to any disease that is brought to their island.

Something like the common cold or the flu could wipe out their entire population since they have no immunity to it. The Sentinelese are one of the few un-contacted tribes left in the world.

This hasn’t stopped people over the years from trying to go to the island. The most recent instance of this came a few days ago on the 16th of November.

John Allen Chau was a 26-years-old American Christian missionary who wanted to bring the Gospel to the Sentinelese people. He went into this trip knowing that it was illegal. Like with most people who come onto their island, the Sentinelese killed him.

He had come to the island several times before the fatal encounter. The day before he was killed he brought them fish and a football as well as scissors and thumb tacks as gifts. They responded to the intrusion by shooting arrows at him.

He made it out of this encounter unharmed, but his Bible was pierced by one of the arrows. In a diary that he gave to the fishermen that brought him to the island, he admits being scared that he may be killed.

He also wrote that God should forgive the natives if they did kill him, but felt very strongly about preaching the Gospel to them. Indian authorities have not been able to receive his body yet and have arrested the fishermen that helped him get to the island.

On social media Chau’s family confirmed that he had been killed. In the post they also forgave the Sentinelese for his death and asked the Indian authorities to drop the charges against the fishermen.


Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

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