American Citizen Killed by Remote Tribe

“God, I don’t want to die,” declares John Allen Chau in his journal detailing his plan to talk with the Sentinelese tribe. The tribe, established on North Sentinel Island, is known for being hostile towards outsiders. This is the first death since 2006 that has resulted from illegal contact with the group.

Consisting of 40 to 200 members, the Sentinelese tribe is believed to be the most isolated in the world. With previous unsuccessful attempts at giving gifts to the group, the Indian government placed a ban on visiting the island and its inhabitants in 1996. Since then, there has only been one other incident that resulted in death after an encounter with the people. In 2006, a boat containing two fishermen drifted ashore. While asleep, the men did not realize they were now vulnerable to the notoriously violent tribe. Despite yells from fishermen near-by, the two men remained asleep. After drifting into the shallows, tribal men boarded the boat and killed the two fishermen.


Courtesy: BBC News


On Nov. 14, Chau hired a fishing crew to transport him to the island which set out that night in an attempt to avoid authorities. The next day, the missionary set out to talk with the people of the tribe. Avoiding warnings from the fishing crew, Chau set out by himself in a kayak and landed on the shore. Immediately, the natives fired arrows at Chau which seemed to un-faze him until one pierced the only object he was carrying, a waterproof Bible. After returning to the boat, Chau details the account in his journal saying, “I paddled like I never have in my life back to the boat. I felt some fear but mainly was disappointed. They didn’t accept me right away.”

The following day, Chau set out again after handing a letter to one of the crew members that was addressed to his family. “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this, but I think it’s worth it to declare Jesus to these people. Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed. Rather, please live your lives in obedience to whatever he has called you to and I’ll see you again when you pass through the veil.” writes Chau to his parents.

Once again, the attempt at communication failed, resulting in a broken kayak and Chau swimming to the boat. He instructed the fishermen to leave, saying he didn't plan to return the next day. Disregarding his instructions, the fishermen stayed and saw members of  Sentinelese tribe drag Chau’s lifeless body and bury him on the beach. Since then, charges have been filed on the men who made up the fishing crew, citing they aided in Chau’s homicide.


Courtesy: Times Now News


Following the incident, news broke that Chau’s intentions on this trip were to convert the Sentinelese tribe to Christianity. In addition, Chau’s family released a statement saying they forgive those who killed their son. “He ventured out on his own free will and his local contacts need not be persecuted for his own actions,” states the family