An American named John Allen Chau had travelled to the remote North Sentinel Island in India. The island has resisted hundreds of invasions and belongs to a tribe which the Indian government has taken into account and Indian ships that monitors the water around the island ensure that outsiders do not go near the Sentinelese, who have made it repeatedly clear that they wanted to be left alone.
John was paddling his kayak towards the island and in his journal said “God sheltered me and camouflaged me against the coast guard and the navy,”
On the very first day he arrived, a young boy from the island shot at him leading John to run back to his fishing boat to take cover, he later wrote in the diary that the arrow had hit the Bible he was carrying
“Why did a little kid have to shoot me today?” he left his notes with the fishermen before swimming back the next morning.
“His high-pitched voice still lingers in my head.”
“I think I could be more useful alive,” John had reportedly written.
“But to you, God, I give all the glory of whatever happens.” These words and others uncovered in his diary – given by his mother to the Washington Post – painted the American as “a young man obsessed with the idea of bringing Christianity to the Sentinelese,”
“You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people,” he said in a letter to his parents quoted by various media. “Please do not be angry at them or at God if I get killed.”
“I can’t wait to see them around the throne of God worshipping in their own language as Revelations 7:9-10 states,” he wrote, referring to the apocalyptic final book of the Bible’s New Testament.
“God, I don’t want to die.” In his diary, he wondered: “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?”
“He was on a misplaced adventure in a prohibited area to meet un-contacted persons,” – an Indian news website stated.
While many others stated that John shouldn’t have invaded the island and quoted the Bible stating that “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet” Matthew 10:14
Police say John knew that the Sentinelese resisted all contact by outsiders, firing arrows and spears at passing helicopters and killing fishermen who drift onto their shore.
Investigators also state that John was aware that he was going to be dead ” he wrote ” I don’t want to die”. “Would it be wiser to leave and let someone else to continue. No I don’t think so.”
The fishermen saw the Sentinelese shoot John and later drag his body and his remains, but the authorities are finding it difficult to recover his body and many officials don’t travel to North Sentinel, where people live as their ancestors did thousands of years ago. According to various reports the only contacts established with those people were occasional “gift-giving” visits in which bananas and coconuts were passed by small teams of officials and scholars who remained in the surf, were years ago.
Authorities are now consulting various anthropologists, tribal welfare experts and scholars to figure out a way to recover the body, Dependera Pathak, director-general of police on India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands, where North Sentinel is located, said Thursday.
John had paid a sum of 25,000 Rs ($325) to fishermen last week to take him near North Sentinel and then used the kayak to paddle to shore and brought gifts including a football and fish.
There is no information about the island itself, from how many people live there or what language they speak.
The Andamans once had other similar groups, long- ago migrants from Africa and Southeast Asia who settled in the island chain, but their numbers have dwindled dramatically over the past century as a result of disease, intermarriage and migration.
John estimated that currently around 250 people inhabit the island, with at least 10 people living in each hut.
“The tribe’s language has a lot of high pitched sounds like ba, pa la and as,” he wrote.
So far seven people have been arrested for helping John, including the five fishermen, John’s friend and a local tourist guide, police say.
The family also said it forgave his killers and was mourning him as a “beloved son, brother, uncle and best friend to us.”
Authorities say John arrived in the area on Oct. 16 and stayed on another island while he prepared to travel to North Sentinel. It was not his first time in the region: he had visited the Andaman islands in 2015 and 2016.
After the fishermen realised John had been killed, they left for Port Blair, the capital of the island chain, where they broke the news to John’s friend, who notified his family, Pathak said.
Police surveyed the island by air Tuesday, and a team of police and forest department officials used a coast guard boat to travel there Wednesday. It was not clear if they have returned since then.
John’s behaviour resonates the behaviour with different American Missionaries whose aim is to help but also adopt Christianity sooner than later. For example, there are tiny villages in Thailand, where the Akhas live. Their lifestyle has been so devastating for outsiders to watch, that religious fanatics started building missionaries. Though the American missionaries have provided Akha children by offering free housing, scholarships, Christian activities, and weekend religious schools.
They have forced Akha children to enlist in the program and to give in to the Christian faith, claims Akha Life University (ALU).
A recent evaluation from ALU suggests “Children have no independent choice on religious rights or beliefs and they are influenced by daily life activities in the dormitory hostel. Every Sunday they are forced to attend church service and Sunday school learning, which means the children have no authority to refuse, for the time they live in the hostels,” explained Kraisit for ALU.
Findings show that cultural assimilation is actively being practiced. Cultural heritage is slowly being forgotten, and as time passes the next generation may not even know about their true Akha heritage.