American missionary John Allen Chau was killed after illegally and repeatedly going to the remote North Sentinel Island in Andamans and trying to force Jesus on the people there. According to his journals, he thought the island was the last stronghold of Satan. On his final visit, Chau was killed with arrows. Now, an anthropologist who once visited the tribe is speaking out.
T N Pandit, the regional head for India’s Ministry of Tribal Affairs, began attempting to visit the island in 1967. He finally made contact in 1991. The 84-year-old said the Sentinelese tribe are peaceful people. He told the BBC, “During our interactions they threatened us but it never reached a point where they went on to kill or wound. Whenever they got agitated we stepped back.” The Indian government has since made it illegal for anyone to visit the island, partly because any contact with the outside world could put the tribe at risk of disease.
On 27-year-old John Allen Chau, Pandit said, “I feel very sad for the death of this young man who came all the way from America. But he made a mistake. He had enough chance to save himself. But he persisted and paid with his life.”
The 26-year-old was from Washington state was insistent upon going to the island. He reportedly paid for a small fishing vessel to take him in the middle of the night, writing in his journal, “God Himself was hiding us from the Coast Guard and many patrol.” But he was “doing this to establish the kingdom of Jesus on the island… Do not blame the natives if I am killed.”
When he arrived on the island, according The Washington Post, he made eye contact and tried to sing “worship songs.” He wrote, “I hollered, ‘My name is John, I love you and Jesus loves you.’”
The Sentinelese people reportedly shot an arrow at him, piercing his Bible. In his final entry on Nov. 16, Chau was still determined to bring Jesus to them and wrote, “You guys might think I’m crazy in all this but I think it’s worthwhile to declare Jesus to these people… God, I don’t want to die.” He also wrote, “Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?”
Chau was reportedly killed with arrows, according to some fishermen, seven of whom were arrested for helping him get to the island. They claimed they saw his body “being dragged and then buried.” Police from India tried to recover the body but were met with bows and arrows, forcing them to retreat.
According to The Guardian, the Indian police have given up on trying to retrieve John Allen Chau.