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North Sentinel Island, the Most Dangerous Tribe In the World

by Reananda Hidayat Permono

The North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, in the west of the southern part of the South Andaman Islands. From above, the North Sentinel Island, the Most Dangerous Tribe In the World is covered by forest trees and surrounded by coral reefs that complicate ships to get close.  Nowadays, coral reefs got damage from the global warming.

Furthermore, the North Sentinel Island is quite far from the Great Andaman Island and it has relatively small size, only around 72 km2 with the highest point of 122 meter above sea level. Astronomically, the North Sentinel Island is located in 11o33’N, 92o14’E. Besides the North Sentinel, you need to also know about Galapagos Island.

Administratively, the North Sentinel Island belongs to India territory, even it’s actually closer to Myanmar or Thailand. The island, that is bordered with the Indian Ocean and Asia continent, is considered as one of the most dangerous islands in the world. The dangerous part of the North Sentinel Island is not about its natural condition, but the indigenous islanders, known as Sentinelese, who would kill anyone who comes into the island.

Sentinelese Tribe

The North Sentinel Island got attention from the world after the murder of an American man, John Allen Chau. The Sentinelese tribe is isolated from the world. According to the report from India Today, the Sentinelese people don’t do shake hand, only survive to live by hunting, and has a unique way to greet, they sit on others’ lap and slap their back.

The existence of the Sentinelese tribe itself has been known since the 19th century when England colonized India. The officer named Maurice Vidal Portman was amazed by the beauty of the North Sentinel Island. He discovered the mysterious tribe who survived by eating roots, turtles, and kept wild boar skull. He kidnapped some of them and brought them to another island. But later on one of them was sick and dead, then he sent the remaining Sentinelese people back to the North Sentinel Island. Portman ended and called it as a failed experiment.

After years, people still keep looking for information about the indigenous Sentinelese tribe. Even a documentary film director from the National Geographic got hit in the leg by an arrow when visiting the island. The Sentinelese may still feel trauma from the kidnapping incident or foreign disease. No one can explain the exact reason why the Sentinelese people keep rejecting foreigners to visit their island. There are some benefit of surface water that you need to know.

Physically, they have black skin, curly hair, and don’t wear any clothes. They use spears and arrows to hunt. Here are some interesting facts of the Sentinelese tribe of the North Sentinel Island, the Most Dangerous Tribe In the World.

  1. Cruel to foreigners

No one ever knew the existence of Sentinelese tribe until some expedition teams visited the island to learn more about it. However, they didn’t get warm welcome, the Sentinelese shot arrows from the beach instead. We got another story of two fishermen who got killed after incidentally came to the North Sentinel Island.

  1. Do not accept civilization

The Sentinelese tribe refuses foreigners in their land. Even if they see some ships coming, they will attack them with firing arrows and rocks. The India government actually wants to learn about them, but they have never succeeded.

  1. Few information about them

We first knew about Sentinelese tribe not so long ago. However, there are only few available information about them. Even the scientists have no significant information, such as their local language, ritual, etc.

  1. Susceptible to illness

The Sentinelese tribe very susceptible to various illnesses like measles, even with simple flu or fever. It happens because they don’t want to socialize with the world so they can’t be properly treated. It’s such a possibility for them to get extinct though. As the preventive action, the India government restricts the tourists who want to travel to the island, therefore, the Sentinelese won’t get the disease from foreigners. They need to consume mountain water, since it has some significant differences than sea water. There are some advantages of groundwater as well.

  1. A woman has successfully contacted the Sentilenese tribe

A first woman anthropologist, Madhumala Chattopadhyay, successfully made contact with the Sentinelese tribe in 1991. When her team arrived at the island, some local people were already standing at the beach bringing spears and arrows. Then she and her team showed some coconuts, and some strange things occurred. The Sentinelese people walked toward them and took the coconuts, they thought coconut was something new that didn’t exist at the island.

Some local people even touched the ship, hence Madhumala thought they were not afraid anymore. The second meeting happened 10 months later. The Sentinelese didn’t bring some weapons, they even got to the ship to take a sack of fruit by themselves. However, it didn’t last long after one of the team member tried to take a necklace from on of the local. They were mad and put out some knives afterwards.

The Sentinelese people had been living peacefully in centuries before they got contact with foreigners. The India government believes they should get better living without any interference from outside.

So that is the North Sentinel Island, the Most Dangerous Tribe In the World article.

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