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Are there any uncontacted tribes of the world left?

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Ever wondered how difficult and different it would be for you to isolate yourself from the rest of the world? Most of us don’t know that there exists a world that’s inhabited by people who belong to uncontacted tribes of the world, as they have no contact with other regions of the world; they have been following traditions long left behind. It’s interesting to learn that not only these tribes provide information to many enthusiastic anthropologists but also further the exploration of the development of cultures over the centuries.

Some of these uncontacted people of the world include:

The Surma Tribe:

Residing in an ultra remote area of Ethiopia, The people of the Surma Tribe are known for giant lip plugs by Westerners. It’s hard to believe that this tribe was last contacted by the Europeans and Russians some 40 years ago for anti-polio vaccinations. The tribe has always lived in groups and followed cattle ranching as a part of daily routine.


Photo of the Surma Tribe (by Marc Veraart)


Not much has changed for them; they still follow the same old traditional life, where disputes are settled by dunga battles - a fight with sticks held vertically overhead to strike. In case you kill your competitor, you’ll have to give one of your female relatives to the competitor’s family as compensation. One of the few tools of modernity adopted by them is the use of AK-47s; they use it to protect their livestock.


The Yana Tribe:

Belonging to the first group of Americans, the Yana people are native to Northern California, majorly connecting to Nevada (the western side of the mountains), one of the famous cities in United States. The word Yana has an interesting meaning attached to it; Ya stands for a person; ‘Na’ stands as the noun suffix for the Northern Yana (Yana), and ‘Hi’ for the Southern Yana (Yahi); In the ancient years, the tribe majorly survived on fruits, acorns and roots.


Photo of Ishi (by Howcheng)


Their territory was spread across miles, housing many boulder-strewn hills, mountain streams and lush green meadows. Each group had its set of boundaries, customs and dialect, quite distinct from the other.You can still locate these tribes as members of Redding Rancheria in California. It’s believed that the last known survivor of the Souther Yana tribe was Ishi, who spent his entire life hiding with his members, outside the European-American culture. He belonged to the mountains near Oroville, California.


The Jackson Whites:


While every tribe during the 1700s was added to the category of known people of the world, there was still a tribe that managed to ignore all contact with westerners. The tribe of Native Americans - the Jackson Whites were found at a place located 56 km from New York. They were called by this name as they were thought of as people who descended from Jacks, and had a light skin tone.



Photo of New York (by William Warby)

The Maasai Tribe:

The Maasai Tribe is one of the uncontacted tribes of the world that offers shelter to many semi-nomadic people of east Africa in Northern Tanzania. Inhabiting an area of 160,000 km, the Maasai tribe observes a huge population within its tribe, ranging from half a million to a million. To be a part of the Maasai tribe, one needs to belong to one of the world’s last greatest warrior cultures. The people of this tribe are expected to learn the responsibilities of being a warrior, right from boyhood to adulthood.



Photo of ‘Amudu’ (by Brutere)

Not many of us know that they are famous for their jumping dance, also known as ‘adumu’; the dance is usually performed by the men of the village, who take a leap in the air to show their stamina and strength as warriors. If you see a group of men engaged in a jumping dance in the southern part of Kenya, then you are definitely witnessing the Maasai tribe perform in front of you.


The Vietnamese Ruc:

The Vietnamese Ruc were first discovered by the soldiers of North Vietnamese during the Vietnam War. It was after the American bombing raid that a group of tribesmen were spotted in the jungle. This was their only first and last contact with the outside world. Since, the jungle was in a bad shape, the tribe decided to settle down in the modern Vietnam than returning back to their traditional residence.




Photo of the caves in Quang Binh province (by Genghiskhanviet)

Since their discovery, the government of Vietnam has made endless efforts to relocate them; It is learnt that these tribes have inhabited the caves in the eastern Quang Binh province in Vietnam and utilised an area of 60,000 meters for their survival. These caves can be located across 17 different areas. Not many of these caves have been explored; only the elders and most primitive of the Ruc Tribe know about these areas.



The Sentinelese:

Don’t even think of contacting this tribe, as you’ll only end up getting a cold reception. India, too has withdrawn itself from making any attempts to reach out to them, as once a group of Russians travelling in a helicopter, while doing a land survey over the island were greeted with a barrage of arrows, only to learn their aggressiveness and anger.



Photo of the Sentinelese (by Christophe cagé)


The Sentinelese tribe consists of people living on a small island, situated in theAndaman Islands and Bay of Bengal. It’s believed that the tribe located to the island some 60,000 years ago (300 people); they are known to be the first humans who left Africa and settled on the island. Their language and culture suggests that they have not been in touch with the outside world at all, and thus, rank higher amongst the uncontacted people of the world.

The Pintupi Nine:

An unknown group of Aborigines - the Pintupi Nine were encountered in Western Australia in 1984. After connecting with some of the speakers of their own language, they were directed to a place where there was surplus of food and water flowed from the pipes. While most of them decided to located in the modern town, few of them (majorly traditional artists) relocated to the Gibson Desert. It’s known that Yari Yari - one of the members of the tribe can still be located there.



Photo of the Pintupi Nine (by HappyWaldo)

These were some of the uncontacted tribes of the world that have for years maintained their traditions and cultures. With no intention of being contacted by the outside world, they have created a world of their own - a world that follows its set of rules!

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