NORTH SENTINEL ISLAND
ANDAMAN ISLANDS, INDIAN OCEAN, INDIA
North Sentinel Island lies Bay in the of Bengal in the Indian It Ocean. is part of the Andaman Anyone Islands. who gets too close will shot with be an arrow. (Small photo shows a tribesman aiming a bow.)
WHY IS THIS ISLAND IMPREGNABLE?
They have hardly set foot on the beach after having climbed out of the dinghy when the group becomes bombarded by a hail of arrows. Fleeing is the men’s only option. “Wild, approximately 50 of them, armed with homemade weapons and two or three wooden boats. We worry that they will board us at sunset. The lives of all of the crew members can no longer be guaranteed,” radios the captain of the cargo ship MS Primrose when he finds himself stranded off the coast of North Sentinel Island in the north Indian Ocean in 1981. The 33-man crew of the Primrose was eventually rescued by a helicopter in the nick of time. But from whom? Today we know: One of the world’s last isolated indigenous tribes lives on North Sentinel Island. In fact, according to anthropologist Stephen Corry, there are only 107 “uncontacted” tribes remaining in the world. Like other indigenous peoples, the Sentinelese reject contact with outsiders—every stranger is greeted with a bow and arrow. Consequently, anyone who gets stranded at this forbidden place should expect to pay for a visit to this land before our time with his or her life. Meanwhile, the Indian government has ratified a Master Plan for the Welfare of Primitive Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in which it is stated: “The Sentinelese people do not need goodwill from modern civilization. If they need anything, it is simply noninterference.” Little is known about these islanders’ numbers and history. Their total number is estimated to be 50 to 80 people. How do we know? Every 10 years researchers take a census: They place coconuts on the beach and from a safe distance count how many folks are lured by the gifts.
FROM ANOTHER WORLD The indigenous residents defend their island and have no contact with the outside world. For tourists the minimum distance is 165 feet.
11.5504° N 92.2333° E