On one of my meandering trips about the web I encountered the story of the Sentinelese, a small tribe who has fiercely resisted all attempts at contact by outsiders. The Sentinelese live a traditional hunter-gatherer lifestyle; highly primitive by Western standards. They’ve been known to murder interlopers, accidental and otherwise:
I found out about the Sentinelese via a Wikipedia entry on uncontacted peoples, and was pleased to see that Atlas Obscura has an entry on this fiercely independent people.
The Sentinelese, the inhabitants of small North Sentinel island, are the only remaining tribe in the Andaman chain to maintain their isolation. Since 1967 Indian authorities have attempted to make peaceful contact with the Sentinelese under the auspices of anthropological research. These “contact expeditions” consisted of a series of visits in which gifts such as coconuts were left on the shores, in an attempt to coax the Sentinelese out of their customary hostility to outsiders. Almost all of these attempts were greeted with showers of arrows and stone.
In 2006, Sentinelese archers killed two fishermen who were fishing illegally within range of the island, and drove off the helicopter that was sent to retrieve their bodies with a hail of arrows. The current policy of the Indian government is to leave the islanders alone. There are currently no planned attempts to contact the Sentinelese and access to North Sentinel island is strictly forbidden.
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