Echoes from the past

1373228422-0The Sentinelese live in North Sentinel Island. Anthropologists believe they are a hunter-gatherer tribe that has lived on the island for 65,000 years. 35,000 years before the last ice age, 55,000 years before the mammoths disappeared, and 62,000 years before the ancient Egyptians built the pyramids at Giza. These people are believed to be the direct descendants of the first humans out of Africa.

The outside world has known about North Sentinel Island for centuries, but the islanders have been almost completely cut off from the rest of the world all that time, and they fiercely maintain their isolation to this day. The Sentinelese survived the 2004 tsunami, it appears that they were able to sense the coming of the tsunami and escape to higher ground before it arrived. When an Indian Navy helicopter arrived three days after to check on their well-being and drop food parcels on the beach, a Sentinelese warrior came out of the jungle and warned the helicopter off with a bow and arrow, a clear sign that the Sentinelese did not want help from outsiders. In 2006 two poachers who’d spent the day fishing illegally inside the exclusion zone dropped anchor near the island and went to sleep, during the night the anchor came loose and the boat drifted onto the coral reefs. The Sentinelese killed both men and buried their bodies on the beach, when an Indian Navy helicopter tried to recover them from the beach, the Sentinelese fought it off with bows and arrows.

No one knows what language they speak.


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