The Tribal People Of Andaman And Nicobar Islands

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands was first discovered by British people in 1789. At that time the island was occupied by six tribal groups. When people started to immigrate from Bangladesh, Burma and Srilanka, the Island now occupies only five primitive tribal groups.

We can classify the people of Andaman into two main groups namely, Indigenous or Aborigines and Immigrants or Settlers. The aborigines of Andaman Island include Great Andamanese, Onges, Jarawas and Sentinelese.

The Great Andamanese tribe is one of the Negrito tribes that originated from Africa nearly 60,000 years ago. This was one of the largest tribe before the establishment of the Penal Settlement in Andaman Islands. The tribe which had a population of nearly 10,000 people in 1700 later reduced to just 19. This was mainly due to contagious diseases like influenza. The administration came forward to protect and preserve the culture of these tribal people. They provided shelter and food to Andamanese and rehabilitated them to a small island named Strait Island. Their traditional food items are fish, dugong, turtle, turtle eggs, crabs, roots and tubers. The tribal people also eat octopus, mollusks, turban shell, scorpion shell, sundial, helmet, trochus and screw shell. Vegetable cultivation and poultry farming are their current activities.

Onges is one of the most primitive tribes that belong to the Negrito racial stock. At present the tribe has only 105 people. To retain this tribal group, the administration has taken many important steps. This Hunting and Gathering tribe is currently settled at the Dugong Creek and South Bay of Little Andaman Island. The Andaman administration has provided them with pucca hut type houses, food, clothes, education and medicines. The people of this tribe fully depend on nature for their food, but laziness and dependent nature are their biggest enemies. They are good in making canoes.

Jarawa tribes inhabited the South Andaman Islands and the Western Coast of Middle…

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