Andaman archipelago used to be a hunting ground for Burmese slave traders centuries ago, who captured individuals from the four indigenous tribes and sold them into slavery.
The islands became a British colony in 1857 and were used mainly to contain political prisoners involved in the Indian Rebellion.
According to Clare Anderson, a professor of history at the University of Leicester, the British implemented an aggressive approach to the indigenous people, including the Sentinelese tribe.
Among the standard practices was abduction, and members of the tribe would be kidnapped and held for several weeks to testament to British civilization’s superiority. During World War II, the islands also witnessed a series of fierce bombing campaigns.
Such a historical record can play a role in intensifying the tribe’s defensive measure toward any outsiders.
After World War II and since the islands became a Union Territory of India, the Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island remained overly cautious with the idea of assimilation or the mere presence of missionaries.
In November 2018, John Allen Chau, a Christian missionary from Alabama, United States, was killed by a Sentinelese and buried on the island.
10 /10 Attempt For Contact
North Sentinel Island is where the Sentinelese people live. The Indian government administers the island. Throughout much of their history, the Sentinelese barely contacted, at least voluntarily, outsiders.
In the latter 20th century, the Indian government attempted to establish a contact by sending a team from the Anthropological Survey of India to the island.
Most attempts were unsuccessful, but in the early 1990s, some members of the tribe accepted gifts of coconuts, albeit in an overly cautious manner, from the team.
Although it seemed like an uneventful moment, the encounter was massive progress.
9 /10 Triloknath Pandit
Very few people know about the Sentinelese. Even if they know something, it is only a fraction of everything there is to know about the life and culture of the tribe.
No one knows more about the Sentinelese than Triloknath Pandit, who took part in multiple visits to the island from 1967 to 1991.
Pandit was the first professional anthropologist to land on the island. Each attempt followed the same action plan: offered some gifts to members of the tribe and proceeded cautiously depending on how they reacted.