The area is tightly covered with forests – this is what Sentinel Island looks like from a bird’s eye view. It is inhabited by a tribe that has no connection with the world and does not want to have it. It is a place where people do not know the Bible and agriculture and may not know how to start a fire.
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North Sentinel Island is located to the east of the Indian coast. Since 1947, it has been part of the Andaman and Nicobar Territories, but its residents are self-governing. In 1997, the island was included in a 3-mile conservation zone. And the authorities issued a ban on approaching the island, which is surrounded by a protection zone. Attempts to contact may also end tragically for the people who live on the island – they are threatened by diseases to which they have no immunity.
Visits from abroad are limited to so-called gift trips where small groups of government officials and scholars leave the islanders with gifts such as bananas and coconuts.
However, from time to time there are daredevils who try to get to the island illegally. How the end of such a meeting looks in many cases, it is not difficult to guess. The meeting ends with the death or arrest by the Indian authorities.
The guards killed the fishermen who had accidentally come to their island. In 1981, the ship’s crew ran aground here in 1981. Its personnel had to be evacuated by helicopter because the natives wanted to attack them.. Until now, the inhabitants of the island “received” strangers with spears and arrows. They even directed them towards the passing planes.
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These stories were not taken seriously by American John Allen Chau, who entered the island illegally in 2018. The 26-year-old went to the island with the intention of converting its residents to Christianity. He got there illegally with the help of fishermen. He covered the last part of his voyage by canoe. He had gifts with him, including a fish and a soccer ball.
“My name is John. I love you and Jesus loves you too. There are some fish here” – these were the words Zhao intended to address to the guards. According to the results, the traveler contacted the local residents after arriving on the island. However, at one point, someone called him an arc. The missionary left for a fishing boat waiting for him, but returned to the island the next day. With Zhao he had a Bible – he wrote in his notes that he was pierced with an arrow.
The next morning, the fishermen saw the guards burying the body of the American on the beach. They returned to the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands – Port Blair, where they informed Chao’s friend of the whole incident. The latter, in turn, informed the man’s family.
5 fishermen were arrested on suspicion of helping to illegally reach the island. A similar fate befell a friend of Zhao who helped recruit Hunters. In a statement on Instagram, the family said the man “has nothing more than love for the guards”. The closest added that they forgave the missionary’s killers.
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The rangers who live on the island are hunters and gatherers and one of the Negrites. She is short (about 160 cm) and has dark skin and African hair type. They wear simple ornaments around their necks and some of them are made of materials washed on the beach. Their ancestors probably reached this place in the Middle Paleolithic, approximately 60,000. Since years.
The inhabitants of the North Sentinel speak a language unrelated to the other languages spoken by the Andaman peoples. This is probably because the island is isolated from the rest of the archipelago.
Thanks to existing footage and photos, we know that the rangers use long bows, spears, knives and stones. They use long spears and simple nets to catch fish. They can build side floating coastal boats that they use to catch fish and collect shellfish from the lakes. The inhabitants of the island use fire, but it is not known whether they can strike it themselves or wait for lightning.
Due to the ban on approaching the island, it is difficult to estimate the number of people living on it. According to different data, it may be from 15 to 500 people. It is also unknown the impact of the earthquake that struck the island in 2004 on its inhabitants. The fact that some of them survived the shots fired at the helicopter was demonstrated 3 days after the earthquake.