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US Missionary Killed By Arrows After Visiting Remote Indian Tribe

We grew up playing Cowboys and Indians, so it's easy to forget that years ago there was a lot of hostility between European and American settlers and native tribes who had originally lived in the area.

The history is bloody, violent and terrible. It's easy to overlook that and lose sight of the fact some people may not want to let strangers onto their land.

North Sentinel Island is one of the most remote places on earth. Protected by the Indian Government, a chain of islands 850 miles off the coast is inhabited by one of the last uncontacted group of indigenous tribes.

It is illegal to come anywhere closer than 5 miles off the shore of the island.

In an attempt to bring the word of God to these people, an American Missionary defied that law and paid a group of locals to ship him to the island.

The danger should have been well known. In 2006, two fisherman who had drifted ashore were killed by the tribe. Last year a helicopter flying overhead was met with slings and arrows from the tribe.

The missionary, John Allen Chau, was dropped off a thousand feet away, and paddled in a canoe to reach the remote island. He came back to the boat the next day with arrow injuries, but still attempted to contact the tribe.

According to Indian authorities on Nov 16 the tribespeople were witnessed destroying the canoe; Chau never made it back to the boat.

"The fisherman later saw the tribespeople dragging his body around," said Dependra Pathak, Director General of Police of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The islands are the chain where North Sentinel Island resides.

The government is now trying to come up with a strategy to retrieve the missionary's body, but it will be difficult. Almost no contact has ever been successful with the tribe, and the government has a "eyes-on and hands-off" approach to dealing with the tribe, according to India's Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

The group of locals that brought Chau to the island have been arrested, but no word yet on what charges they face.

A spokesperson for the International Christian Concern is calling for the tribe to be punished.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to both John's family and friends. A full investigation must be launched in this murder and those responsible must be brought to justice."

It doesn't seem likely that the Indian government will pursue that course of action.

{H/T: CNN, Ladbible}

"We refuse to call him a tourist. Yes, he came on a tourist visa, but he came with a specific purpose to preach on a prohibited island," said Pathak.

I've been writing for Shared for 6 years. Along with my cat Lydia, I search for interesting things to share with you! You can reach me at Tristan@shared.com.