Sentinelese Tribe That Killed American Has a History of Guarding Its Isolation

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tags: anthropology, North Sentinel

In the late 19th century, a British naval officer described stepping onto a remote, coral-fringed island in the Andaman Sea and encountering one of the world’s most enigmatic hunter-gatherer tribes, an extraordinarily isolated group of “painfully timid” people who ate roots and turtles and stored a heap of wild pigs’ skulls.

Fascinated, the officer, Maurice Vidal Portman, basically kidnapped several islanders. He took them back to his house on a bigger island, where the British ran a prison, and watched the adults grow sick and die. After returning the children to the island, he ended his experiment, calling it a failure.

“We cannot be said to have done anything more than increase their general terror of, and hostility to, all comers,” Mr. Portman wrote in his 1899 book.

Read entire article at NYT

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