Tribal People of Nicobar
The Heaven Dwellers
Andaman and Nicobar Island is home to some of the most primitive tribes of the world. Some of them are indigenous tribes while some have moved here centuries ago. One can get to see an amalgamation of different cultures on this island. While most of the tribes of Andaman and Nicobar remain elusive and do not like to mingle with the outside world, some are quite friendly and allow outsiders to come in their territory. Make sure that you know which areas are restricted for tourists.
The Great Andamanese
At one time, The Great Andamanese had the largest population among the all the tribes inhabiting the Andaman Islands. Their population in 1789 was approximately 10,000. By 1999, their number has decreased to 41. These tribals have been rehabilitated in a small island named Strait Island. Their traditional food items are fish, dugong, turtle, turtle eggs, crabs, roots and tubers At times, they still go in for hunting and gathering. Some of them are also into agriculture producing different vegetables. Recently, they have also started poultry farms. Their culture is totally different from other tribes of the island. You will be amazed to see that so much are they exposed to outside influences but still they are able to carry forward their traditions and culture.
Onges are one of the oldest tribes in India. They are a part of Negrito racial stock and they have been relegated to the reserved pockets both at Dugong Creek and South Bay of Little Andaman Island. They are also diminishing in number. They live in a remote corner of the country in a small pocket. They are the semi-nomadic tribes and fully dependent on the food provided by nature. They have now experienced the impact of outsiders. At the same time efforts at befriending them have proved to be successful. They have been provided with pucca hut type houses, food, clothes, medicines, etc by the Administration. They eat turtle, fish, roots and jack frutis and etc. They have developed artistry and craft. The Onges can make canoes. A primary school has been functioning at the Dugong Creek settlement of Onges. This tribe has become laid back and dependent in their ways. Also their rate of reproduction has become very low.
The Sentinelese are the inhabitants of North Sentinel Island. The area is about 60 Sq. Kilometers. They are probably the world's only Paleolithic people surviving today without contact with any other group or community. They are considered as an off-shoot to the Onge Jarawa tribes which have acquired a different identity due to their habitation in an isolated and have lost contact with the main tribes. The Sentinelese are very hostile and never leave their Island. Very little is known about these hostile tribes.
They are now friendly and voluntary seek medical assistance. They do not have good canoes but can make rafts which they build to cross the streams. The year 1974 was a land mark in the history of Jarawas. Dropping of gifts was done in February and March 1974. After establishing this friendly mission with the Jarawas, the contact party of the Administration quite often met the Jarawas and gave them gift items like banana, coconut and other fruits. With the passage of time, the behavioral pattern of Jarawas have changed. Till the beginning of 1998, they remained hostile, but now they are coming out of the jungle quite often and are becoming friendlier. For nearly a year there is no incidence of killing of villagers by the Jarawas. On the other hand, the Jarawas are coming out from their habitat to mix with the local people. After giving them gift items like bananas, coconuts, etc,. they are being sent out to live in their own natural habitat, with view not to force them to have a taste of the civilized world. Isolated so long, the Jarawas otherwise appear to be healthy, with smooth skin, deep curly hair, long and sturdy hands and legs and sturdy bones. They are physically fit for hunting, fishing.
Unlike, other tribes mention earlier, the Jarawas are not welfare dependent people. As nomadic tribes subsisting on hunting, fishing and gathering activities, their traditional food articles consist of boar (wild boar), turtles and their eggs, crabs and other shore animals, etc. wild pig fruits and honey.