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If any group of the people qualified for the term ’lost tribe’ is the Sentinelese. The North Sentinel Islanders or the Sentineli are the isolated people of the Andaman Islands. They avoid contacting the outside world and are among the last people to remain untouched by modern civilization.
The Andaman Islands have been known to wanderers since ancient times. They maintain an essentially gathering society through fishing, hunting and collecting wild plants. The Sentinelese language is officially not known and is not mutually intelligible with the language of their neighbors. The tribe is to be believed to be occupying the island for almost 60,000 years.
This image is taken by NASA to show an aerial view of North Sentinel Island.
The exact population of the Sentinelese is not known. However, it has been estimated that fewer than 40, and up to maximum of 500. Census of India recorded 39 individuals including 21 males and 18 females. However, this survey was conducted from the distance and the accurate figure was not recorded. In 2011, Census of India recorded 15 individuals.
The Andamanese people are described as Negritos, it is a term, which has been applied to different peoples in Southeast Asia, such as the Aeta of the Philippines archipelago, Semant of the Malay Peninsula etc. The characteristics of the Negrito people include a comparatively dark skin, short height, and afro-textured hair.
Sentinelese wear no clothes, they wear leaves and other materials as their decorations. Almost of their weapons are made from animal bones and stones. Headbands appear to be fashionable among men. (1.1)
Since 1967, Indian authorities have been endeavoring to make a peaceful contact with these people. Almost all of these peaceful attempts were welcomed with showers of stone and arrows.
It was also reported that Sentinelese killed two three fishermen who were fishing illegally near their land. The current policy of the government is to leave the Sentinelese alone.
Any Attempt to contact them have been turned into the horror stories of how Sentinelese greeted their guests. People return from the island either wounded or not at all.
After the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, it was reported that Sentinelese may have vanished, however, the stories has it that they still survive.
The home to Sentinelese is either a shelter-type hut or a floor sometimes with palm and leaves, which gives enough space for 3-4 people and their belongings.
The food to the Sentinelese’s is primarily the plants collected in the forest which are found on the beaches as pigs, sea turtles, wild honey, flotsam etc.
Their cooking and preparing methods resemble with those of Onges (one of the Andamanese indigenous people). For catching large fish, a tool is used that looks similar to the fishing arrows. Knives are also used but it is not known to what extent the Sentinlese use them.
Like so many isolated tribal people with frightening population, the Sentinelese is considered as backward.