(Last Updated on : 27/07/2011)
Tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands are known for their unique and indigenous traditions and ways of living. Andaman and Nicobar Islands is a Union Territory around which revolves several legends and modern day fancies. Steeped in history, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
is home to umpteen tribal populations. Basically there are five primitive tribes residing in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The Great Andamanese
, Jarawa tribe, Sentinelese tribe
, Onges tribe and Shompens tribe are the five native tribes that mainly inhabit the islands of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The tribes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands continue to maintain a unique lifestyle of their own.
Great Andamanese Tribe
Great Andamanese tribal group resides in the Strait Island. This was the largest tribal group earlier in Andaman. But presently the number has decreased notably. The administration of this island has come forward to help this tribe in surviving. The people of this tribe still go for hunting and gathering. Some of them also depend upon agriculture producing different vegetables. Recently poultry farms have also been started by them. Their culture is quite different from the other tribes of this region. The great Andamanese were foragers. Their traditional food items are fish, dugong
, turtle eggs, crabs
, roots and tubers. In spite of the outside influences they are still carrying their age old tradition and culture.
This tribe presently reside at the Western coast of Middle Andaman and South Andaman Islands. Their esteemed population is 341. Administration has spread its hand to befriend the inhabitant of this tribe by gifting them bananas, coconuts and other fruits. Till 1998 they were hostile to other people but they are coming out of their inhibition and trying to mix with the local people. This nomadic tribe is surviving on hunting, fishing and gathering. The traditional food of this tribe includes wild boar, turtles and their eggs, crabs, fruits and honey. The Jarwas are healthy with smooth skin, curly hair, long and sturdy hands and legs. The Jarwa people use crude rafts to cross creeks and streams.
The people of this group are settled in the North Sentinel Island. They are the world`s only Palaeolithic people surviving today without contact with any other group or community. The people of this tribe are considered as an off-shoot to the Onge Jarawa tribes which have acquired a different identity due to their habitation in an isolated and have lost contact with the main tribes. The Sentinelese is very hostile in nature and never leaves their Island. They mainly survive through hunting, fishing and gathering. Very little is known about these hostile tribes.
This tribal group is one of the oldest tribe in India. They are related to the Negrito racial stock and they have been relegated to the reserved pockets both at Dugong Creek and South Bay of Little Andaman Island. Their traditional food includes turtle, fish, roots and jack fruits and etc. These people developed artistry and craft. Their present population is 105. They occasionally go for hunting and fishing. They are independent in their own ways. The people of this tribe are on the way of remarkable progress. They have been provided with schools and dispensaries and some of them can interpret Hindi language
The people of this tribe belong to the Mongoloid Group. They inhabit the Nicobar Island.
This tribe has two divisions. The smaller division is Mawa Shompens that live very close to the coastal region along the river valleys and are very shy. However, they are friendly with the Nicobarese. The main group of Shompens is hostile and reside in Alexendra and Galathia river areas and also on the east coast of the area in the interiors. The Nicobarese tribal group is having their own set of laws and traditions. Their numbers have dwindled greatly as a result of various diseases and they are physically very weak. The number of the Shompens is estimated to be 400. The Shompens speak in a dialect of their own.