Tribe That Lives On an Island Near India Shoots First and Asks Questions Later To Intruders

In the Indian Ocean, the Bay of Bengal is located on the east side if you’re coming from India and there’s a certain area in this bay that has attracted the public eye, its name is North Sentinel Island. North Sentinel Island is very primitive, and despite its close proximity to India it has remained completely out of touch with civilization, and there are people who live there…

The People

In this island, there lives a tribe of people who have had very little visitors. The few visitors that have come to them have left in a coffin or through barely escaping with their lives. This development is what has made India establish a 3-mile exclusion zone to discourage people from going in there and getting themselves killed or injured.

North Sentinel Island, dot, in the Bay of Bengal. Image courtesy of Google Maps

The Victims

On the 26th of January 2006, 2 people were killed by this tribe while they were out fishing. What could’ve prompted the attack is that their boat had been drifting near the island’s shoreline. A coastguard helicopter from India even tried to go and retrieve the bodies of these men but was met by a bunch of arrows aimed at them by the island’s tribesmen.

On 2 August 1981, a ship called MV Primrose found itself on the island’s reef. It didn’t take long for the crew to realize that there were tribesmen on the beach carrying weapons and building canoes.

The ship’s captain then called his superiors and asked for weapons to no avail. If the sea hadn’t been raging at that time and if it weren’t for the assistance of private helicopters, Primrose’s crew would’ve died.

Bad News

The sad thing about this tribe’s hostile nature is that they can’t be easily observed, so research on them has been tough. Still, researchers have found out that these people are most likely hunter-gatherers because they haven’t found any evidence of cultivated land.

Researchers who’ve been brave enough to land in deserted villages have also found out that the Sentinelese don’t know how to build a fire. Apparently, the Sentinelese “harvest” fire by keeping the embers from lighting strikes burning for as long as possible.

The Silver Lining

Despite the sailors almost losing their lives, some good did come out of that unfortunate incident. The islanders discovered metal. According to researchers, the Sentinelese now have metal spear/, and they say this could be resulting from the islanders scavenging the MV Primrose for steel.

Also, after the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, the people of North Sentinel Island were reported to be totally unharmed even though this earthquake claimed over 200,000 lives in more than 7 countries. Another silver lining is that these islanders don’t have to worry about communicable diseases that are so prevalent in the civilized world.

This is also another reason why India has chosen to enforce that 3-mile exclusion zone. Another fun fact is that the Sentinelese don’t always kill people. According to the anthropologist T.N. Pandit, these islanders usually warn you, and if you fail to understand their warnings, that’s when they kill you.