I love reading about tribes that have escaped the influence of time. Sadly, there are fewer and fewer of these untouched people to read about as the ugly grey hand of “progress” strips away humanity’s history. The imperialist Western nations have so thoroughly “saved” the indigenous people of the world, that few are left untouched. Entire tribes and languages have been destroyed.
If I were left in a jungle to fend for myself I would be dead within half an hour. But to have been there since birth, and for that to be all you know is impossible for any of us to imagine. I revel in the notion of a simplistic life outside of our bungling modern techno cocoon. Having said that, I’m well aware that I view it through rose tinted specs, life is cruel and short in the wilds of planet earth.
One of these vanishingly rare glimpses of life as it was before modern civilisation can be found on a speck of land called North Sentinel Island. Its inhabitants have shunned foreign interest so wholeheartedly that virtually nothing is known about them at all.
North Sentinel Island is one of the Andaman Islands sat in the bay of Bengal. It rests around 400 miles off the Burmese shoreline to the east and 600 from India in the west. It looks like this:
The island is covered in lush forest and surrounded by a coral reef. The islanders speak Sentinelese. The only two things we know about Sentinelese is that they don’t call it ‘Sentinelese’, and that it’s not like the language of their nearest neighbours – the Onge. The Onge are aware of the tribe and do share some culture and customs, but the two groups can’t understand each other’s tongue when they do, on rare occasions, meet.
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