The North Sentinel Island Tribe

The North Sentinel Island Tribe

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing this article on the North Sentinel Island tribe for quite some time now because gathering ‘reliable’ information on it has been pretty hard work.

I could just attempt to include all the opinions/facts in this piece but to be honest with you – some of it seems way off this planet (and it is not backed up by any solid fact).

So, I thought I’d keep this short and sweet…and allow the readers of this site to add their opinions on the subject in the comment section below…


North Sentinel Island

So where is North Sentinel Island? Below is the description Wikipedia opens with on it’s dedicated page:

“North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. The island belongs to the South Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands”

Most of the island seems to be covered in a blanket of forest and it is surrounded by coral reefs, and lacks natural harbors.

However, it is not a deserted piece of land…


The North Sentinel Island People

The North Sentinel Island people are known as the Sentinelese, they are indigenous to the land.

Experts cannot be sure, but they believe the population of the Sentinelese could reach as high as 400 individuals. The Sentinelese reject any contact with other people, and are among the last people to remain virtually untouched by modern civilization.

This isolation obviously leads to numerous conspiracy theories popping up on who these people are and where they came from originally.

The Sentinelese

On the 2nd of August 1981, the ship Primrose managed to ground itself on one of the coral reefs leading into North Sentinel Island.

After a few days the crew noticed a group of tribal figures on the beach observing them. On closer inspection they realized that the group of Sentinelese were constructing weapons (spears and arrows) along with boats to reach the grounded vessel.

Full of panic, the captain of the Primrose radioed in for help in the form of a weapons drop so that himself and the crew could defend themselves.

This weapons delivery never came…

Thankfully the heavy seas and rough conditions managed to keep the islanders away from the Primrose. The crew were rescued about a week later by a helicopter working under contract to the Indian Oil And Natural Gas Commission.

The North Sentinel Island People

The Sentinelese apparently survived the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and its after-effects, including the tsunami and the uplifting of the island.

Several days after the event the Indian government decided to check out the island to see what remained. When they arrived by helicopter they were met with a small group of Sentinelese who bombarded them with stones and arrows.

The Sentinelese had somehow survived the earthquake and were hell bent on repelling the hovering aircraft.

10 comments on “The North Sentinel Island Tribe

  1. Was it the 2004 aircraft that took the pictures included here? In each one they seem ready with weapons like they’re pretty ticked off that someone’s watching them.

    1. I’m unsure what year the pictures were taken in Kellie – I’ll have to check. Yeah they don’t seem that happy at all do they? (I wouldn’t have hung around there myself!).

  2. I have tried to look for info on this and came up with very little. One day contact will be made with these guys. Even if that is sad it is inevitable. I am so intregued, do they have gods (religion )? I bet they do. Strange isn’t it that these people will have coustoms and traditions as we all do in one way or another, we will have many things in common even though they are untouched. Perhaps they know things we don’t. Perhaps they are more advanced in other ways. Where we have evolved scientifically, technicologically and materialistically etc. They may have evolved differently, they may be using the other %90 of their brain for example.

    1. I agree Michelle – it really is a shame that we have to ‘bother’ this untouched civilization. They’ll probably all get wiped out by the common cold or flu within weeks of meeting us…

  3. Michelle… I doubt they are using the other 90% of their brain if they can’t make a fire. Collecting embers from lightening strikes and storing in a hollow tree doesn’t scream “limitless”. I would be curious to read about their history and differences in culture. I don’t see why they should be catered to or left alone. Civilizations and tribes have had their land invaded or taken throughout history. What if their DNA or some aspect of their chemical makeup cures diseases or answers questions regarding the origin of man? I’m not suggesting they be forced to move or put in concentration camps. Only that they be forced to allow research to be conducted on their people and history.

    1. Kevin..I also doubt that they are using the other %90 of their brain. I meant it as a metaphorical statement meaning that we don’t know anything about them or the secrets they could hold. As for them being “catered to or left alone” I only said it would be sad, of course it is sad, but I also said that it is inevitable and it is. In fact when writing my statement I was thinking exitedly about learning about this culture in depth which could only happen through contact.
      Mostly I was theorising about their religion/beliefs as it is something that interests me and the thoughts and history a yet untouched civilisation are very interesting I’m sure you would agree.

  4. I do not understand how people can say that they do not deserve to be left alone… untouched. How would you feel if someone came into your home and started doing experiments on your family? What kind of human could do that to innocent people that have done nothing to deserve it? They are human beings that should be treated with respect. Leave the poor people alone.
    Just my opinion though.

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