Disclaimer: Originally published in December 2017. It is being republished since it still remains an interesting topic till today. 


Demystifier: ED Original where the content is written in such a way that it is knowledgeable and easy to comprehend at the same time.

The lush green swathe of 23 square miles in North Sentinel Island, lying west of Labyrinth Islands in South Andaman is home to one of the remaining Stone-Age tribes who till date maintain their isolation.

Showing intense hostility by hurling poison darts or steel-tipped arrows from trees and beaches, the Sentinelese have turned down almost every friendly approach from the outside world.

Classified as Negritos, the Sentinelese exhibit physical characteristics akin to Africans with their dark complexion, tall stature, and peppercorn hair. With the population of North Sentinel Island standing from 50-250, the Sentinelese wear limited clothes made from leaves or fiber strings. [1]

Donning headbands worn out of vines, they are hunter-gatherers without any sign of agriculture. Fashioning dug-out canoes, bows, arrows, and spears from any metal or ships that have been wrecked on their treacherous rocky islands, they are not afraid to use them.

Sentinelese
The Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island

They use nets for fishing from the shore and haven’t displayed any ability to make fire.


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Believed To Be Direct Descendants Of Apes Becoming Man

There have been assumptions trailing the fact that the Sentinelese who remained isolated for 60,000 years are direct descendants of their pre-Neolithic ancestors.

The scientific study of their DNA samples by Anthropologists suggest that the Sentinelese were a part of an early wave of Hominoids (primates) evolving into Homo Sapiens who migrated from Africa to the Far East reaching Asia and other parts of the world. 

Sentinelese Man Fishing In The Coral Reefs

Beaches that were exposed by low sea level provided a new migratory route with oceans abounding in the reliable food supply. [2]

Failed Human Contacts In The Past

Although surveyor John Ritchie discovered the island in 1771, the first ever real contact was made by an Indian merchant ship Nineveh about 100 years later which crashed upon the island’s many reefs.

When the shipwrecked crew made it to the land, they were attacked by the mysterious savages charging upon them with bows and arrows, greeting them with their guttural pa on ough.

Sentinelese
The Sentinelese People In The Past

This stirred interest for the later expeditions, the primary one being a British expedition by Maurice Vidal Portman taking captive a couple and their four children from the island. But the couple died of sickness they were not immune to when brought to Port Blair. [3]

Their children were returned to the island with gifts and for some time, there was no aggression from the Sentinelese.

Their Baffling Beach Orgies

Indian anthropologist Triloknath Pandit made several attempts at peaceful contact. When his frightening vessel approached the territory of the Sentinelese, the crew initially threw fish in order to appease them.

Sentinelese
Triloknath Pandit offering coconuts to the Sentinelese

The Sentinelese aimed their arrows by running into the waves when the vessel reached their shore. What manifested on the beach was a murky glimpse of their culture where a female claimed a warrior for her and sat in the sand, ensconced in a passionate embrace.

All the other female members followed suit in the spontaneous beach orgy.

Sources are yet to corroborate whether this act of communal mating was in the heat of the moment or something which the Sentinelese women exercised, calming their men who turned violent and hostile. [4]

Persisting In A Bygone Era Of History

The Indian Government has taken measures to further isolate the island by expanding an exclusion zone which prohibits plying of vessels in the area, even applying a penalty to any unwary outsider illegally intruding into the unchartered waters.

When the world was reeling under the shock of the cataclysmic tsunami of 2004, the Sentinelese was believed to have been wiped out.

Sentinelese
The Sentinelese Do Not Want To Be The Victims Of Development

With North Sentinel Island standing directly in the path of impact and tectonic plate raising the landmass to about 7 feet, it is inconceivable that the Sentinelese managed to survive, thereby ready to defiantly barge on an Indian Coast Guard Helicopter set out to bring evidence of their existence.

Sentinelese
The Sentinelese Warriors

To the Sentinelese, we may seem like an alien threatening to eradicate their race but we need to take account the debilitating impacts of our civilization that left some of the aboriginal tribes hanging in extinction. [5]

Assimilation into a civil society never turned out well for the Jarawas and the Andamanese whose number crashed succumbing to disease, alcohol abuse, and the prejudiced imperialistic policies. Perhaps it’s better to respect their decision to choose not to live with us.


Image Credits: Google Images

Sources:

  1. THE ANDAMAN TRIBES – VICTIMS OF DEVELOPMENT
  2. Sentinelese of the Andaman Islands
  3. The most isolated tribe in the world?
  4. A Mysterious Island and a Deadly Lost Tribe
  5. Survival comes first for the last Stone Age tribe 

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Actually the beach orgy may be explained on the basis of evolutionary logic. Seeing a large boat, it is likely that the tribe felt threatened. Mating is an evolutionary mechanism to propagate the species/tribe. It makes sense for anyone who feels they may die in a fight, to instinctively try and ensure that they leave offspring behind.

  2. Out of six photos labeled as ‘Sentinelese’, three of them are of the Jarawa. Try get some facts right even in the photos

  3. This article is disgusting, racist, propaganda aimed at people who have decided not to “assimilate ” to European culture and not allow people outsiders to come and exploit them

  4. I don’t see the racism in the article. It is written from fairly neutral perspective where the author only adds a fairly ambiguous and open ended opinion at the very end.

    The comment about the Sentinelese being descendants of an early wave of hominids (primates), as opposed to most of the rest of us being descendants of a later wave of hominids (primates) shouldn’t offend anyone.

    I don’t see the implied ridicule of the beach orgy either. The name used ‘beach orgy’ isn’t sensationalist, it is the best description for what transpired. The word orgy is being used literally. It’s an event worthy of comment because it it unusual compared to other societies norms.

    • Orgy is racist? lol.

      Many people having sex, at the same time, in the same location, is called an “orgy”.

      Savage typically means “violent”. I would say that beheading people, slicing their throats, and killing them with arrows probably fits the definition of “savage”.

      Spend more time reading, less time playing video games, and you might learn what some of these words mean.

      None of them are “racist”.

  5. What a bunch of racist drivel! Glad I caught on early and stopped reading. The writer should be ashamed of their own (ironically) primitive mindset.

  6. Mark, if you don’t see the racism in this article, it’s obvious you are blind !

    My concerns for the ship wrecked crew that made it to land only to be fired upon are nonexistent. I’m sure all the invaders wanted was the land, natural resources,
    and the lives of the indigenous peoples; not necessarily in that order. If the scenario depicted was true, and the “savages” attacked as described, who lived to tell the story and how did they un-ship wreck themselves ?

    The Eurocentric must learn to keep their guns and their God to themselves. By any means necessary !
    Thank you.
    No thank you.

  7. Phoenix,
    Perhaps I am blind, because I’m still unconvinced.

    My challenge to anyone would be, can you point out a few of the racist points in the article, and write them in a way that isn’t racist while also remaining factual?

    If you can, I’d have no problem saying I’m wrong, and thanks for the debate.

    The sceptic in me says it’s not possible though.

    For example, if the leading theory of our evolution indicates that the ‘Sentinelese were decended from an earlier wave of hominids’, that is a scientific deduction that can only be defeated by a better theory with proof and review. If you try and make it less of an ugly fact, or less offensive, you only spread ignorance.

    Just to clarify my perspective, I’m saying:
    The writer hasn’t written a racist article, isn’t a racist person, and there is no need to denounce them.

    I’m not saying that the article is necessarily historically or scientifically correct. I haven’t fact checked it. (Which no one else seems to have bothered to do either )

    I’m also not saying history isn’t full of racism. I’d agree completely that it is, often with the ‘Eurocentric’ as the perpetrators.

    But why shouldn’t we be allowed to talk about it?

    Especially when done in a neutral tone as in the article.

    It seems many of the commentors dislike the mention of historic racism, or ‘scientific ugliness’. As if the way to defeat racism is to whitewash it. Delete it from history, and punish anyone who dares speak of it.

    In your example of the shipwrecked crew, you are arguing the incident isn’t described accurately (seemingly without any evidence).
    You may be right.
    I would agree with you on this point if you could prove the writer deliberately skimmed facts to present a one-sided account that made the Sentinelese seem barbaric.

    You could then say the writer was at best a sloppy researcher, or unknowingly viewing the world through a racist lens, or in the worst case, simply a blatant racist.

    Who has the time though, right?

    On the comment you make that the invaders only wanted land, resources etc:
    Although you may be right about the motives, the presumption without evidence is inherently racist…

    On your guns and God comment:
    ‘Any means necessary’ justifies a large range of evils.

    Thanks for the debate, very enjoyable.

    • You claim the “Eurocentric” are the only perpetrators?

      This shows a lack of historical knowledge.

      The Ottoman Empire enslaved 15M “Circassian beauties”, many of them castrated. That is 4x more than Europe ever enslaved (that we know of).

      The Mongolians enslaved millions, as did the Persians, Romans, Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, and Chinese.

      Slavery was commonplace. It existed in every corner of the earth from about 3000 BCE to 1900 CE. Some cultures try to pretend that they didn’t own slaves by changing the definition to “indentured servants”, but it was slavery nonetheless. Our King in Thailand has like 400 slaves. The Filipino King of Cebu in the 14th century, has thousands of slaves.

      So what changed?

      Was it the enlightenment? Was it puritan philosophical liberalism? Was it Lockean and Kantian ethics?

      I would say it was all three: all of which are western ideals.

  8. One can see racism anywhere they look if they are looking for it. I personally was looking for information on the sentinelese and that is what I found. Nothing more. Nothing less.

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