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Guest lecture on topic Some Observations and Issues on Adaptive Strategies of Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island

Port Blair, Mar 25: Anthropological Survey of India, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Port Blair organized a guest lecture on the topic “Some Observations and Issues on Adaptive Strategies of Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island”on March 24, 2021 at 03:00 PM in the seminar Hall of the office premises. The lecture was delivered by Mr. A. Justin Rtd Deputy Director, AnSI and the session was chaired by Mr. SA Awaradi, Ex. DC A&N Administration. The session was graced by dignitaries from varied fields. All the staff members of the AnSI, ANRC, Port Blair; and media persons were present on the occasion.
Dr. Nilanjan Khatua, Superintending Anthropologist (C) & Head of Office, AnSI, ANRC, Port Blair, formally welcomed the guests and the audience. Dr. Koel Mukherjee, Anthropologist (P) moderated the session.
Mr. Antice Justin has the experience of conducting fieldwork among various tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands including Sentinelese of the North Sentinel Island one of the isolated tribes of the world. He shared excerpts from his many expeditions which was carried out by the Anthropological survey of India to make friendly contacts with the Sentinelese. Since 1974, 22 Pre-tsunami friendly contacts were made with the Sentinelese of North Sentinel Island till April 2003. He mentioned that, ” The Onge are not in touch with the Sentinelese and refer to them as Chanku-ate. As sea levels rose over millennia, any contact they had with neighbouring people on other islands became progressively less frequent”. He beautifully described the stances of Sentinelese accepting various gift articles were distributed such as toys, mirrors, puffed rice, banana, coconuts even boars. Sentinelese tribesmen emerged frontward gleefully to receive those gifts which were lowered from the ship and distributed to them, near Curlew Isle positioned northeast coast of North Sentinel Island.
The Sentinelese has only minimum contact with outsiders. As reflected presently in the Andaman Islands situation till today, they are still as isolated. Their life is mostly untouched ethnically and biologically. He opines that, the unfriendliness of the Sentinelese could be attributed to many unheard provocative encounters with interlopers; hence calling them “hostile” would not be justified. To review the estimated figure, identified locations of their territorial bands, habitats, foraging pursuits, hunting-gathering activities/implements, aquatic crafts and other ground realities etc. can be assessed with utmost care; but not to create any impact of dependency syndrome on their traditional culture as far as practicable sensibly.

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