When people make it clear they want to be left alone, it’s a matter of respect and intelligence to just back off. That’s exactly what John Allen Chau, an American tourist in his late 20s, should have done with India’s Sentinelese tribe.
It is common knowledge in this part of India, and among anthropologists, that the Sentinelese tribe, an indigenous people living on the North Sentinel Island of India’s Andaman Islands, want nothing to do with outsiders. For this reason, any interaction with the islanders is prohibited by the Indian government.
The Sentinelese tribe is extremely isolated from human contact and the Indian Navy enforces a buffer zone to keep people away, but Chau was determined to visit them and convert them to Christianity, The New York Times reports.
Chau was so keen on being one of the few outsiders to interact with the Sentinelese people that he hired a fishing boat and took a kayak and a Bible to the island.
The first time he attempted to reach the shores, he was shot at with arrows and retreated. Chau tried to reach the island several times in the span of three days, offering gifts such as a soccer ball, scissors, and fishing line to the tribesmen. But the fishermen who took Chau to North Sentinel explained to the police that they had later seen his body being dragged on the beach by the Sentinelese people.
According to The New York Times, the people who helped take Chau to North Sentinel “have been arrested and charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder and with violating rules protecting aboriginal tribes.”