Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

John Allen Chau Sent To Meet His Maker By Stone Age Sentinel Island Tribe

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, November 25, 2018

Instagram obituary of John Allen Chau, 27, by his family

NOTE: This story, at least as it’s being told by most American news media outlets (sometimes also known as MSM, or the Main Stream Media), is sparsely incomplete, at best. While it’s not the purpose of this entry to castigate, criticize, or deride them, it is worth noting that they, like other outlets, make determinations of what viewers want to read, or don’t want to read, and publish what they think viewers want to read. Determining and discerning those two items is the job, in large part, of editors and publishers. The purpose of this entry is to inform readers, as fully as possible, from the widest variety of sources, details of the story which remain largely untold by most American news media outlets. Your comments are welcome. –ed.

Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain showing North Sentinel Island in the Bay of Bengal, off the east Indian coast.

Perhaps by now you’ve heard of the tragic and bizarre death resulting from the deliberately premeditated, most likely illegal, and profoundly stupid acts of John Allen Chau, a 27-year-old Alabamian, who’d recently moved to Vancouver, Washington with his mother Lynda Adams-Chau. As a self-described “adventure tourist” who lived part-time in an isolated cabin in California’s Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, he was killed by Stone Age tribesmen while trespassing on North Sentinel Island, in the southernmost Bay of Bengal among the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain east of India.

The Sentinelese, who are thought to be direct descendants of the first humans who emigrated from North Africa 60,000 years ago, are called one of the Earth’s last “uncontacted” people, and by Indian law, it is illegal to even attempt to contact them, much less to make contact with them. The Indian government vigorously protects the Sentinelese people who neither use any form of money (one of the earliest forms of money used in commercial transactions appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia – the cradle of civilization – by the third millennium BCE), who by law cannot be prosecuted, contact with them is forbidden, as is entry or attempted entry into any area they populate or inhabit.

Their protection is so jealously safeguarded by Indian law, that even taking videos of the Sentinelese people is prohibited. In 2017, the Indian government clarified in the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) that the Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges, Sentinelese, Nicobarese and Shom Pens had been identified as “aboriginal tribes,” that they are protected under the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Protection of Aboriginal Tribes) Regulation, and as such, videos showing them cannot be uploaded on any social media or the Internet, and that they would legally seek “removal of these objectionable video films from YouTube and initiate action on those who uploaded these video clips on social media platforms.” Even the Indian navy is forbidden to encroach near North Sentinel Island, in an effort to protect the isolated, reclusive, often violent tribe.

Such protection is not granted exclusively to North Sentinel Islanders, and in 2012, the Indian government made illegal any advertising promoting tourism of the Andaman and Nicoman Islands area relating to aboriginal tribes. The law states in part that, “Whoever enters these areas in contravention of the notification under section 7 {prohibiting entry into reserve areas} for taking photographs or making videos shall be punishable with imprisonment up to three years.” The law and protection is so strict and so great, that violations of other sections of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities Act) can also be added the list of offenses for anyone who violates the law.

The Sentinelese people’s population has never been accurately, correctly or properly enumerated, and relatively little is known about them. During India’s 2011 Census, enumerators found only 15 Sentinelese people – 12 men and 3 women – but their total population is largely unknown, and could range anywhere from 40 to 400, though it’s widely considered to approximate 150, or less. An earlier census attempt was made in 2001, and 39 people were counted, which consisted of 21 men, and 18 women. The total tribal populations in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain is thought to approximate 28,077, and of those, there are five tribal communities with populations under 500.

Sentinelese tribesman shooting arrows at an Indian Coast Guard helicopter sent for a Health and Welfare check upon the remote, Stone Age islanders following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Thought to be about 60,000 years behind the times, and with under 150 members, they are believed to be one of the last – if not the very last – pre-Neolithic tribes in the world today. One of the last known official attempts at contact with them was via helicopter, when Indian government officials performed a type of “health and welfare safety check” following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, and were fired upon by a tribesman using a bow and arrows.

North Sentinel Island

Two years later, on January 26, 2006, two Indian fishermen – Sunder Raj, 48, and Pandit Tiwari, 52, who were illegally fishing for mud crabs and lobster in the area – while sleeping overnight in their boat, possibly under the influence of palm wine, whose boat’s anchor lost its mooring, and drifted astray onto the island, were killed by Sentinelese tribesmen. Their bodies later washed up on the shoreline. When Indian Coast Guard helicopters were sent to retrieve the fishermen’s bodies, they were repelled by arrows shot at them by tribe members. Consequently, their remains were never recovered from the 23-square-mile island paradise.

John Allen Chau

As a seasoned world traveler, not only to that area, and others, Mr. Chau was well aware of all these facts, and more, and through his Instagram account, other social media and email, made it expressly clear that he was fully informed and aware of the laws concerning, pertinent to, and protective of the North Sentinelese, and other aboriginal tribes in the Andaman and Nicoman Islands area. Despite that, in a travel blog posting dated November 3, 2015, which was linked with his blog and his social media accounts, Mr. Chau wrote that his priority was “Going back to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in India is on the top — there’s so much to see and do there!

Speaking of Mr. Chau’s death to India Today TV, Criminal Investigation Department Superintendent of Police Deepak Yadav said that, “Chau reached Andaman and Nicobar Islands on October 16. When he expressed interest to visit the island, seven fishermen got together to take him to the island. There are restrictions on the island. We are trying to recover the body. Chau was killed with an arrow and one of the fishermen saw his body being buried on the island. We have registered a case against these fishermen as they should not have taken Chau there. It is very unfortunate. The sensitive tribe has been living here for 60,000 years. They are not to be contacted. The Navy and Coast Guard patrol the area to prevent people from entering the island.”

Superintendent Yadav reiterated that authorities are actively trying to find a way to retrieve Mr. Chau’s corpse, and specifically said that, “We did an aerial sortie yesterday to assess the situation.”

Police reported that Mr. Chau had bribed six local fishermen 25,000 rupees (US$354) to take him to North Sentinel Island, while his social media accounts suggested he wanted to introduce the islanders to Christianity as a self-styled missionary, though he was not officially affiliated as such with any organized group. The fishermen have since been arrested, along with a friend of Mr. Chau’s in Port Blair who helped organize the boat trip to the island. Mr. Chau reportedly took their help, and then hired a fishing dinghy at Chidiyatapu area, from which he ventured forth in his own canoe.

Andaman Director General of Police, Dependra Pathak said John Allen Chau’s motives were less than honest, altruistic, noble, or wholesome, and that, “He lived in Alabama, US. He is some kind of paramedic. He was on a misplaced adventure in prohibited area to meet uncontacted persons. People thought he is a missionary because he had mentioned his position on god and that he was a believer on social media or somewhere online. But in a strict sense, he was not a missionary. He was an adventurer. His intention was to meet the aborigines.”

As a practically sovereign people the Stone Age Sentinelese tribe members are highly protected by Indian law – which is of paramount anthropological importance – they enjoy immunity from prosecution for killing trespassers or outsiders who attempt to contact them. Yet with the objective of promoting and increasing tourism, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government through the Ministry of Home Affairs removed the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from 29 islands in the Andaman Islands chain, which included North Sentinel Island. Approximately 500,000 tourists visit the Andaman Islands annually. And some travel companies have been accused of organizing “human safari tours” simply so tourists could catch a glimpse of the four remote tribes inhabiting the islands.

While there are additional restrictions for anyone desiring to enter the Andman and Nicobar Islands chain, a link cannot definitely be established between the removal of the RAP and John Allen Chau’s death, though there are numerous pertinent questions about how he evaded governmental agencies’ detection to make frequent undetected visits to Sentinel Island, about which he documented on social media accounts.

So it’s quite possible, that effectively, because the restriction was lifted, foreigners may no longer need governmental permission to visit any of the islands, and the order will remain in force until December 31, 2022. While the Indian judicial system will determine guilt or innocence for any criminal acts which may have been committed by those arrested, at first glance, it’s possible that victim Chau may not have committed an illegal act when he entered North Sentinel Island – but neither did the Sentinelese who enjoy immunity from prosecution for killing trespassers.

Press Release of Andaman and Nicobar Islands Police on John Allen Chau’s Death

Nevertheless, Dependra Pathak, the Andaman Police Director General said, “A murder case has been registered against unknown persons” on North Sentinel Island and by Nicobar Police, which will be investigated, while at the behest of Mr. Chau’s mother, the US Consulate in Chennai filed a First Information Report (FIR) missing persons complaint there. He added that efforts are under way to repatriate Chau’s corpse and said, “His body has not yet been retrieved because we have to strategize keeping in mind the nuances and sensitivity of other cultures.” As of Saturday, November 24, 2018, two unsuccessful attempts have been made to locate Chau’s remains.

Kathleen Hosie, a U.S. Consulate spokeswoman in Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu, India’s southernmost state, said, “We are aware of reports concerning a US citizen in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The welfare and safety of US citizens abroad is one of the highest priorities of the US Department of State. When a US citizen is missing, we work closely with local authorities as they carry out their search efforts. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment.”

By November 15, Mr. Chau had made two or three canoe trips to the island, illegally made contact with the tribe, and returned to the boat belonging to the 7 fishermen whom he bribed to ferry him out there. But on November 16, he told the fishermen that he would not be returning, and instructed them to return home and pass along to a friend of his some of his handwritten notes. The next day, the fishermen said they saw his corpse being dragged along the beach by tribesmen.

The fishermen told police that they last saw Mr. Chau meeting an angry hail of arrows after he landed on North Sentinel Island November 16. Shortly thereafter, as tribe members dragged his body on the beach, they set to sail away only moments later and saw Mr. Chau’s body half-buried in the sand.

A report given to Agence France-Presse (AFP) of Mr. Chau’s actions that day stated that “He tried to reach Sentinel Island on November 14 but could not make it. Two days later he went well prepared. He left the dingy midway and took a canoe all by himself to the island. He was attacked by arrows but he continued walking. The fishermen saw the tribals tying a rope around his neck and dragging his body – they were scared and fled but returned next morning to find his body on the sea shore.”

When Mr. Chau’s mother shared his journal with Washington Post reporters, they found entries like, “I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you,’” and another entry which noted that the tribal men reacted angrily to him, and that one of the juvenile members shot at him with an arrow which pierced his waterproof Bible after he tried to speak their language and sang “worship songs” to them.

Evidence that Mr. Chau, an Oral Roberts University graduate, knew what he was doing was illegal emerged clearly via emails, when one of his religious friends, John Middleton Ramsey, recalled how Mr. Chau had earlier scouted out the Andaman and Nicoman Islands chain, and often talked about plans to return with gifts – which he later did, and carried safety pins, a football, and fish with him. Mr. Ramsey recalled how Mr. Chau knew the islands were a restricted area – especially North Sentinel Island – and that any attempt to trespass there was a criminal act under Indian law.

Additional evidence that John Allen Chau knew he was violating the law as an adventure marauder comes from his diary journal, which has also been examined by other news agencies, and police. By the time he had written his final series of entries, Mr. John Allen Chau had been to the Andaman Islands at least six times, and may have and illegally forced his way onto North Sentinel Island. It certainly wasn’t John Allen Chau’s first trip to India or the Andamans. During those times, he stayed at a “safe house” in Port Blair to avoid detection.

His Instagram account shows photos he uploaded from Andaman in March 2017 and October 2016, where he stayed for nine days on Havelock island. And he seems to have visited the Kerala backwaters on the same October 2016 trip.

His November 14, 2018 journal entry was made while at that Port Blair safe house. In the journal, he characterized the fishermen whom he bribed to ferry him to Sentinel Island as “believers,” and wrote that “The meeting went well – I trust, although I am the only English speaker so there is quite a language gap; I am relying on the holy spirit to direct us.”

In that same dated entry he also wrote about his mixed ethnicity in which he described himself as “an American citizen, part Irish, part Native American and part African and part Chinese and South East Asian,” which he characterized as groups with painful histories of invasion, colonization and forced “civilization.”

He wrote further, “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name? God, I thank you for choosing me before I was even yet formed in my mother’s womb to be your messenger, of your good news to the people North Sentinel Island.”

He also expressed hope that the Sentinelese tribe would accept his proselytizing of Jesus and Christianity with an open heart.

John Allen Chau wrote that his plan was was to leave that night and arrive at 4 AM after which time he would make “progressive contact with fish.. gift, over four days {sic}. His play will succeed I pray, my will nor my plan be done but only his god, pleasing and will. Forever you, Jesus, we to be praised,” and concluded with his name, and the phrase “Soli Deo Gloria” – Latin translated as glory to God alone.

In a journal entry dated November 15 at 0530AM, he wrote that the fishermen smugglers whom had bribed, had successfully rendezvoused the night before, and were on the boat awaiting contact with him. He also wrote how they evaded the Indian Navy and Coast Guard’s patrols:

“Left last night around 2000 and arrived around 2230 or so but as we went north along the eastern shore, we saw boat lights in distance along the north shore and turned around. Headed south along the eastern shore and evaded them, went along the southern shore and up along the western shore. All along the way, our boat was highlighted by bioluminescent planktons – and as fish jumped nearby, we could see their line darting mermaids shimmering along. The Milky Way was above and god himself was shielding us from the coast guard and navy patrols.”

Having arrived in the area, the smuggling party entered a cove on the island as the sun began to rise in the east and decided to wait for the Sentinelese to emerge the thick forest jungle.

That first day, he made direct contact with the Sentinelese – in direct violation of law – and wrote about it in his journal that, “One blocked (unarmed) [me] while other (country knife) waded along the coast, then little third with bow and arrow came down the middle and I figured that this was it.”

He wrote further that he attempted to “preach” to them and in a strange confession wrote, “[…] and disembarked my kayak to show them that I too have two legs.”

He described one Sentinelese man as “well built with a round face one fly on right face cheek and yellowish pigment in circles on his cheeks and about 5ft 5”.”

He continued writing that he gave them the “gift-type” items, and wrote further that they took his kayak:

“Well I’ve been shot by the Sentinelese, by a kid, probably about ten years old. And the little kid shot me with an arrow – directly into my Bible which I was holding in front of my chest. I grabbed the arrow shaft as it broke in my bible […] and felt its arrow head. It was metal, thin, but very sharp. I stumbled back and recall yelling at the kid for shooting me – now as I look back at it, my Bible cover looks like bark – like tree bark, so maybe he was just curious but yikes, it sure gave me a fright.”

Despite all that, Mr. Ramsey said Mr. Chau was determined to disobey Indian federal law, expressed a desire to understand the Sentinelese Islanders way of life, share Christianity, and perhaps translate the Bible into their language – which all are quite amazing, if not misplaced, goals, especially considering that the Stone Age Sentinel Islanders have no written language, and no human being other than them know the North Sentinel Islanders’ language.

Stone Age

Those people – the Stone Age North Sentinel Islanders – are hunter-gatherers. They don’t know how to plant a garden (the beginnings of farming, and a hallmark of civilization), it’s highly doubtful that they even know how to make fire, and they certainly know nothing about the wheel. Quite frankly, for Mr. John Allen Chau to visit, was an exclusively ignorant, and a blatantly willful violation of law for his own selfish means… regardless of what he said, or wrote.

Andaman and Nicobar Authorities would not have learned of John Chau’s death had they not received email from the American Consulate on November 19, which in turn relayed the message to Island authorities that they had received information from John Allen Chau’s mother Lynda Adams-Chau, alleging that such an incident had occurred. And based upon that email, Andaman police registered a case under section 302/34 IPC against the tribe, which essentially accused them of murder.

Mr. Ramsey shared the correspondences with Mr. Chau’s mother via email, and noted in them that Mr. Chau said his plan was “not to tell anyone” what he was planning on doing in order to avoid putting his friends at risk. Superintendent of Police Deepak Yadav similarly noted that everyone involved in the criminal activity was fully aware that their actions were illegal and said, “They were very well aware of the situation, but they still arranged for a boat and everything.”

Primrose shipwreck

In his last journal entry to his family dated November 16 Mr. Chau wrote, “Why does this beautiful place have to have so much death here? I hope this isn’t one of my last notes but if it is Soli Deo gloria. {Latin: To God be the glory.} You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people. God, I don’t want to die.” His entry and the question “Why does this beautiful place have to have to much death here?,” strongly suggests – if not conclusively proves – that he was very familiar with the history and story of the North Sentinel Islanders, and concern for his own death by trespassing against them.

Despite witnesses having seen Mr. Chau being shot with arrows, his corpse being dragged along the beach by the neck, and then covered over with sand, and later having shared their observations with his mother via email, Mrs. Adams-Chau maintains that her dead son is alive, and in an email to The Washington Post wrote, “I believe he is still alive.” When asked why, she replied, “My prayers.”

Upon reaching the islands capitol city of Port Blair, the fishermen told of the incident to a local preacher, identified only as Alexander, who was one of Mr. Chau’s friends. Alexander, an engineer by profession, and local preacher, then alerted his family in the US, who immediately contacted the US Embassy in New Delhi for help. Islands police arrested the fishermen and questioned Mr. Chau’s friend Alexander the preacher, after US officials informed them of the incident.

The Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands recognizes the Sentinelese people, and laws including the Andaman and Nicobar Protection of Aboriginal Tribes Regulation (ANPATR) in 1956, were written to ensure their protection.

North Sentinel Islanders contacted in 1991

The first modern peaceful contact with the Sentinelese was on January 4, 1991 by Trilokinath Pandit, Director of the Andaman & Nicobar Regional Centre of the Anthropological Survey of India. As an academic and Indian anthropologist, he was able to win the tribe’s trust by using gifts of coconut and iron chunks. Later in 1993, he told The Independent that while the locals must be protected, permanent isolation may not be sustainable, though he also defended the Sentinelese against their violent reputation saying that, “They’re cautious, that’s all. They want to defend themselves against outsiders.”

A cautionary example may be seen in the nearby Jarawa tribe on other islands in the area, which stopped resisting external contact in 1998. Consequently, they are now plagued by intruders stealing the animals they hunt for food, importing alcohol, and sexually exploiting Jarawa women.

The Primrose shipping vessel ran aground on coral reefs in heavy seas.

Historically, the Sentinelese tribe has had human contact, though it has been sporadic, limited, the record of it is somewhat sparse, pockmarked with, and characterized by abuse and death.

On August 2, 1981, a cargo ship named The Primrose which was carrying poultry feed from Bangladesh to Australia in heavy seas, ran aground on the coral reef surrounding North Sentinel Island. The captain radioed for assistance, ordered the crew to stay on board, and settled in for what was thought could be a very long wait for assistance. But in the morning, crew members saw about 50 men with bows and arrows on the beach, who were building makeshift boats. The captain and crew were legitimately concerned that the Sentinel Islanders would try to board the ship, and fight.

In 2011, English author, writer, and raconteur Dennis Price interviewed Captain Robert Fore, a helicopter pilot, about his harrowing rescue of Primrose’s crew following it’s grounding on the reef.

One Response to “John Allen Chau Sent To Meet His Maker By Stone Age Sentinel Island Tribe”

  1. […] « Stone Age Sentinel Island Tribe Sends John Allen Chau To Meet His Maker […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

 
%d bloggers like this: