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This Christian Missionary Tried To Spread The Lord's Word To These Natives...The Natives Killed Him

Uncontacted peoples—yes, there are still pockets of the world where some folks have not had any contact with modern civilization. On North Sentinel Island, contacting the local tribe there, which is violently against outsiders, can prove fatal. For one American missionary, it was his last trip. John Allen Chau tried to bring the word of the Lord to these people, visiting the island multiple times. He knew that he could be killed. He knew the natives were hostile to the outside world. The Indian Navy actually patrols the island, ensuring the five-nautical mile buffer is maintained. Besides their violent aggression towards outsiders, the Sentinelese has no immunity to common diseases, like the measles, which could wipe out the whole community. Chau’s body was seen being dragged off by the natives by the fisherman he paid to get him to the island. Attempts to recover the body have been unsuccessful. The Sentinelese people attack outsiders with spears and bows and arrows if they come to close to the island (via CBS News):


Indian officials have traveled repeatedly in recent days near the remote island where an American missionary was killed by people who have long resisted the outside world. But they have not set foot onto North Sentinel Island since the killing, and it remains unclear if they will.

American John Allen Chau was killed by islanders in mid-November after paying fishermen to smuggle him to the island, where outsiders are effectively forbidden by Indian law. The fishermen told authorities that they saw the Sentinelese people bury Chau's body on the beach.

The notes Chau left behind said he wanted to bring Christianity to the islanders. Anthropologist P.C. Joshi said he understands why authorities want to recover the body.

"If there is a death, then the cause of death should be known. It's important," said Joshi, a professor at Delhi University.

"Of course, we can't prosecute" the islanders if they killed Chau, he said. Plus, he noted, it may already be too late to learn much from the body, since the heat and humidity on North Sentinel will cause rapid decomposition.

"Ultimately, it's becoming futile," he said. The Sentinelese, who scholars believe are descendants of Africans who migrated to the area about 50,000 years ago, survive on the small, forested island by hunting, fishing and gathering wild plants.


The Chau family is devastated by the news, but in a statement, noted that they’ve forgiven those who may have killed John. There is a good chance that Chau’s body may never be recovered. 

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