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Sentinelese: The Tribe That Has Remained Isolated for 60,000 Years

Sentinelese: The Tribe That Has Remained Isolated for 60,000 Years
on February, 05 2014

It is interesting to note that despite the age and time, there are still people who refuse contact with the outside world. These tribes would rather stay hidden in a place that they have called home for thousands of years. One of the most isolated tribes in the world is the Sentinelese tribe of the Andaman Islands. These islands are located in the Bay of Bengal and are a part of India. There are over 500 islands in the area and several isolated tribes thrive within. Over the years, these tribes began contacting outside civilization, with the Jarawa tribe being the latest only in 1997. This leaves the Sentinelese as the only isolated tribe in the islands.

60,000 Years of Isolation

What we know about the Sentinelese is very limited. This tribe refused all forms of contacts from the outside world despite several attempts. There were some photographs of the people taken via helicopters and close encounters, but this provides very minimal information about the tribe. Looking at the evidence gathered so far, it is believed that the tribe has been residing in the islands for over 60,000 years. Some scientists even refer to them as the Stone Age people. They make use of bow and arrow for hunting just like how people did during the Stone Age. There were also some photographs of their houses which were made from trees. The tribe has been very resistant despite the efforts of the government to reach out. Journalists, scientists and researchers were all met with their weapon as soon as they came close to the tribe.

How Do Sentinelese Look Like?

According to photographs and actual sightings, Sentinelese came from the Negrito race. They have black skin, curly hair and huge lips. Other Negrito descendants are mostly found in the island of Papua in Indonesia and New Guinea. Sentinelese also makes use of minimal clothing. They gather leaves to cover their body. During close encounters, they cover themselves in red or black paints. According to scientists, this could be a sign of danger for them. The presence of a plane might be some sort of evil spirit for people who have no contact whatsoever with modern civilization. Sentinelese are also said to be relatively healthier and taller than other tribesmen who lived in the Andaman Islands.

Why Should They be Left Alone?

The Indian government has failed many times to contact this tribe. The closest encounter was probably that of Captain Robert Fore and his crew in 1981 when their helicopter ran aground the Bengal Bay. They have to be lifted up via helicopter rescue since the tribe started to show signs of attacking them. After many attempts, the Indian government decided that it would be better to leave the tribe alone. It would be better in preserving their culture as well.

According to researchers, these isolated tribes are also not immune to the illnesses possessed by modern humans. Any close encounter with them could possibly kill them as their immune systems are not designed to fight off the virus. The Sentinelese have also not shown any sign of acceptance or willingness to meet with other civilizations. Thus, it would be in their best interest to let them do what they want.

The Indian government was just concerned especially after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The said disaster came right through where the Sentinelese lived. They were feared to have been wiped out. However, there were still several sightings after the disaster. At the present, they are believed to still have at least 250 people.

These people have lived in the same place for over 60,000 years and their right to preserve their culture and tradition deserves to be respected.

Bernadine Racoma

Bernadine is a writer, researcher, professional and multi-awarded blogger and new media consultant. She brings with her a rich set of experience in the corporate world, as well as in the field of research and writing. Having taken early retirement after working as an international civil servant and traveling the world for 22 years, she has aggressively pursued her main interest in writing and research. You can also find Bernadine Racoma at .

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