To: blam; Kitten Festival; SunkenCiv
Head Hunting Cannibals: The Facts
Alongside the perfectly accurate image of swimming elephants, another rather less correct assumption about the Andaman Islands has become part of popular folklore: dont set foot on any of the more remote islands or your crew will be massacred and eaten by headhunting natives.
Or, as a collection of Arab notes dating from 851 puts it, "The inhabitants of these islands eat men alive. They go naked and have no boats. If they had, they would devour all who passed near them. Sometimes ships that are windbound and have exhausted their provision of water, touch here and apply to the natives for it; in such cases the crews sometimes fall into the hands of the latter and most of them are massacred."
This view was to persist amongst mariners for the next 1,000 years or so until very recently, despite the fact that the Andamanese have always insisted that they have never been cannibals. In fact, as is often the case with most indigenous tribal communities around the world, the natives have much more to fear from interlopers than vice versa. Despite the best efforts of the Indian government to help preserve their culture, the Onge, Sentinelese and Jarawa, who are of Negroid descent and live on the Andamans; and the Shompen and Nicobarese, who are of Mongoloid descent and live on the Nicobar Islands, are on the verge of extinction and are vastly outnumber by the immigrant Indian population. Visiting the tribal areas on Little Andaman Island, Strait Island, and the western coast of South and Middle Andaman is strictly prohibited to tourists.
The modern myth of the headhunters can be attributed to one tiny island in the chain: North Sentinal, which lies 29 kilometres off the west coast of South Andaman. The Sentinalese are one of the last remaining Stone Age tribes on earth and virtually nothing is known about them. The Indian government has attempted to make contact on several occasions before being driven from the beach by primitive spears and arrows. Needless to say, North Sentinal is to be avoided at all costs and boats should not attempt to approach it apart from being completely illegal, it could be a potentially fatal experience. However, sailors can be confident of a friendlier welcome elsewhere in the archipelago.
Other info points to the likelyhood in centuries past, of Malay pirates perpetuating the cannibal stories to keep people away.
posted on 12/28/2004 7:51:03 PM PST
(It's easier to build a child than repair an adult.)
the Andamanese have always insisted that they have never been cannibals.
There are Amerindian tribes that swear the same thing...but studies of their ancestor's cooking pots put the lie to that. Of course, it is VERY un-PC to point that out.
posted on 12/28/2004 7:59:50 PM PST
(The world needs more horses, and fewer Jackasses!)
That sounds like cannibals to me. They're cannibals. No liberal excuse-making and naysaying is going to change my mind about this. They ate some British tourists and that's all I need to know about whether I like them or not. They eat people! They're cannibals!
posted on 12/28/2004 8:32:17 PM PST
by Kitten Festival
(The Thug of Caracas has got to go.)
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson