By Tessa Osteen
John Allen Chau an American from Vancouver, Washington was killed trying to convert an isolated island tribe to Christianity back in the middle of November. The sentinelese tribe known to be hostile to outsiders, is prohibited for people wanting to come to the island. The island and its people have lived a primitive lifestyle for more than 55,000 years virtually undisturbed by outsiders. Warned before arriving at the island, John Allen Chau still went through with his plan and paid Indian fisherman close to $300 dollars to bring him close to the island shore and then paddling the rest of the way to the island. Leaving behind a journal detailing his encounters with the tribe, he writes in it how, “God himself was hiding us from the coast guard and many patrols.”
Before his fateful trip, he made several other attempts to reach the secluded tribe years ago detailing in his journal how, “…is this island satan’s last stronghold where none have heard or even had the chance to hear your name?” When he first approached land a young teenage boy fired an arrow at him hitting his bible John was carrying with him. Believed as if he was destined to become in contact with the tribe, many people from his mission have justified his actions but others have called his actions reckless. When arriving to the island one time before his fateful visit, he shouted out “ My name is John, and I love you and Jesus loves you.” Some people have labeled John Allen Chau as a martyr comparing him to another missionary named Jim Elliot who was also killed trying to convert an indigenous tribe in Ecuador many years prior. Others including Mary Ho, the executive leader of All Nations, the organization John Allen Chau was apart of said how, “ John was a gracious and sensitive ambassador of Jesus Christ who wanted others to know of God’s great love for them.”
John Allen Chau’s family wrote on Facebook how they forgive the fisherman for taking him there, and that they forgive the natives for killing him. As of now India has no plans to recover the body of the missionary. An anthropologist involved in the case says how, “ We have decided not to disturb the Sentinelese. They shoot arrows on any invader. That is their message, saying don’t come on the island, and we respect that.” Since there’s no contact with other people, the Sentinelese aren’t immune to different modern sicknesses or diseases and can potentially be harmful to them if they come in contact too many times. The sentinelese are protected by Indian law making it illegal to come to their island. Although it may seem senseless to kill an unarmed man, the tribe was only looking out for the best interest of their people.