Top 10 UNCONTACTED TRIBES That STILL Exist
Though some of us wish to separate ourselves from society some days, these people have made permanent efforts to do so. Free from news over the next Kardashian folly or worries over lost cell phone chargers, these ten tribes have opted for a lifestyle that modern society may consider curiously uncomplicated.
If there's ever a question as to whether or not a tribe wants to remain untouched by civilization, the Sentinelese will be quick to answer. They won't do so with words, though, but rather hostility. The Sentinelese make no qualms about attacking outsiders that encroach on their lands, such as in 2004, shortly after a devastating tsunami hit the Indian Ocean. An Indian Navy Helicopter sought to provide aid to the islanders but was met with a lone soldier, who fired a warning arrow at the team. The island of North Sentinel is considered one of the most dangerous to visit due to its native and very protective inhabitants, the Sentinelese, who aim to remain isolated from a world that they seem to understand as little as it understands them. What we do know about them, is that they perhaps know more about weather patterns than the sophisticated world. During the 2004 tsunami, the Sentinelese were left untouched, as they retreated to higher grounds before the devastating waves would hit. This suggests that the Sentinelese may retain esoteric knowledge of the weather and environment that we could possibly learn from.
In May of 2015, Leonardo Perez was shot to death with an arrow, a similar incident occurring four years earlier to Shaco Flores, a local guide in Peru. What the two had in common was their killers, the Mascho-Piro, an isolated tribe living in solidarity and seclusion in the jungles of Peru. The tribe is sometimes seen on the coast of the Madre de Dios river in search of turtle eggs and accepting machetes and pots from missionaries, though they're quick to return to the forest. Despite the occasional sighting, such as photographs taken by professor Jean-Paul van Belle, the tribe continues to live in isolation, acting aggressively towards anyone that seems to threaten their safety.
The Surma Tribe has a rather distinct culture that includes body modification and decoration, such as lip plates and scarification. The Ethiopian people of the Suri tribe stick to a common tradition where women have a hole cut in their lips for a wooden plug to be placed. The plug, like a modern gauge, is increased in size until a large clay or wooden plate can be put in its place. To the people of the Surma tribe, the larger the plate, the more cattle the woman is worth. It's a tradition that continues throughout this isolated group of people, along with other customs such as a household run by a woman and an economy based on agriculture.
If you travel to the eastern Amazon rainforests of Brazil, there's a chance you may come across a tribe of some 300 strong. These people, the Awà-Guajà, weren't always so diminished in numbers and once flourished, and despite efforts from the Brazilian government, logging and encroachment had dwindled their numbers greatly. In 1982, a $900 million loan from the World Bank and European Union was given to Brazil with a condition to demarcate and protect lands of indigenous peoples, the Awà-Guajà among them. Twenty years later, the land was finally demarcated, long after the damage had been done and many tribes people were killed in massacres.
There are many interesting facets to the New Guinea Korowai tribe, such as the treehouses built over the canopies of tall trees to remain out of harms way or the stories of cannibalism that's believed to occur among their people. It's unknown how old the Korowai are, but it is thought that their introduction to the outside world was not until the 1970's, when clan members met with an expedition led by anthropologist Peter Van Arsdale, geographer Robert Mitton, and community developer Mark Grundhoefer. Further contact continued into the late 70's by Christian missionaries and television crews in the 80's, 90's, and 2000's.
Typically, we picture tribes as large groups of individuals living a certain way of life in a specific region. The Akuntsu once fell into the standard definition of a tribe, but when Brazilian cattle ranchers instigated a massacre among the Akuntsu, only seven members were left remaining. Since then, two have passed away, leaving a group of five to carry on the legacy of this Amazonian tribe. Despite their dwindling numbers, these hunter-gatherers continue to remain in isolation, likely in fear of another event like the 1980's slaughter, avoiding much outside influence and refusing to marry beyond their lines. Before long, the Akuntsu will be a distant memory of the Rio Omere.
The Arrow People
The Arrow People of the Envira region along the Brazilian-Peruvian border have remained a mystery for quite some time, and it's probably for the best. The first recorded photographs of the mysterious tribe, done so overhead by anthropologists via plane, were met with aggressive stances. Fearing outside interference and likely a bit confused by the mechanical flying machine, the Arrow People's pugnacity is not unfounded. In 2002, six years prior to the overhead flight, journalist Scott Wallace and Indian right's activist Sydney Possuelo braved the Brazilian rainforests to study the tribe's safety, but turned the expedition around when Possuelo came across a freshly-snapped tree sapling, thought to be an Amazonian warning.
Sometimes tribes do come in contact with modern society and the effects are quite devastating. For the Nukak, stumbling across the town of Calamar brought disease and flu, which they were unable to stave. From this contact in the late 80's, over 50% of the tribe perished, leaving a small number left to continue living in isolation. Solidarity is temporary in a growing world, though, as the Nukak now face threats from Colombia's expanding cocaine empire. Forced form their homes, the Nukak originally settled in San Jose del Guaviar, but were then moved by the Colombian government to the rainforest. After another flu epidemic and the suicide of Mao-be, the tribe's spokesperson, they returned to San Josel.
Some 50,000 years ago, a population of people crossed a series of land bridges from mainland Asia to the Philippines. Today, it's believed that those migrators were the start of the Batak, a tribe known for its short stature and dark skin. Residence of the forests of northern Palawan, the Batak actually face eradication from a host of causes. Governmental regulation and bans on where they can cultivate, logging, and land seizures have all contributed to the declining number of "pure" Batak. Due to these detrimental pushes against the Batak, many are even marrying outside of their tribe; but there is still a small number of native Batak looking to stick to their traditional, non-modernized methods of living.
The Old Believers aren't what you typically picture when we talk about tribes cut off from society. This band of Russian nonconformists separated from the Russian Orthodox Church in 1666, protesting changes that were introduced by Patriarch Nikon. Though not as primitive as other non-communicative tribes, the Old Believers are stuck in their 17th century ways, refusing to join modern society. Throughout their history, the Old Believers had settled in China and Brazil, being forced to leave either due to local governments or harsh climates. Sects of the Old Believers have settled in an isolated pocket of Alaska, on the Kenai Peninsula, to preserve their antiquated beliefs and lives.