There are some things you probably shouldn’t do. Give a pregnant woman unsolicited advice. Get out of your car at one of those drive-through safari attractions. Eat romaine lettuce. Go pay a visit to a completely isolated, remote tribe in India even though it’s illegal and they have deadly, pointy arrows and the accompanying bow at the ready.
However, that’s exactly what John Allen Chau – a missionary from the United States – decided to do. Unfortunately, it cost him his life.
Unlike your sister who posts every little aspect of her life on social media, little is known about the Sentinelese tribe. They’re protected from visitors by the Protection of Aboriginal Tribes law, so if you decide to stop in for, say, a cup of sugar, they can kill you out of self-defense. Even if you’re just holding an empty cup that’s waiting to be filled with sugar. If only your cubicle had the same orb of protection. That’ll show Linda from HR who’s boss.
After news about Chau’s death broke (not by us… we usually aren’t the ones to break news…), media outlets brought up past examples of people trying to venture onto the island – and the stories pretty much all end the same way. Death. Destruction. Arrows. A reminder that such remote tribes still exist. An overwhelming curiosity about how these people function without Snickers bars or Google or indoor plumbing.
Until finally, the story of one brave soul rose to the surface: the story of T.N. Pandit. The man, now in his 80s, was part of gift-giving expeditions to the hunter-gatherer tribes of the Andaman Islands, including the Sentinelese tribe. The twist? This happened decades ago, and the trips were sanctioned by the police. So they were not illegal. Which means they were permitted. So it was allowed.
The anthropologist formed a kind of relationship (not a kind relationship, but kind of like one) with the isolated Sentinelese people between the 1960s and ’90s. So while the rest of the world was watching Happy Days and Full House, this guy was bringing coconuts to isolated people.
They weren’t always friendly, and the Sentinelese people initially showed hostility to Pandit, but he believes them to be a generally “peace-loving” community. A peace-loving community who slaughters anyone who comes close to stepping foot on their island.
The current debacle is figuring out how to recover Chau’s body off the island. If the Sentinelese people’s favorite thing is coconuts, why not blow their mind with a gift basket of coconut oil, milk, butter, shampoo, cake, cosmetics, and candles.
But perhaps the most promising peace treaty of all: the Almond Joy. No, scratch that. Mounds.
Illustration by Kei Tran.
Link to Original Article here.