American Missionary John Allen Chau has been making headlines ever since he was killed by an isolated tribe on a remote island last week.
The death of the 27-year-old on November 17 has cast a new spotlight on efforts to protect one of the world’s last “uncontacted” tribes whose language and customs remain a mystery to outsiders.
Fishermen who took Chau to North Sentinel — which is one of the Andaman and Nicobar islands in the Bay of Bengal — said they saw the tribe burying the body on the beach.
Last Friday, Indian police officials shared the contents of journals that Chau had kept to chronicle his journey and his work.
In addition, letters addressed to Chau’s parents have been shared after the missionary wrote them and gave them to the fishermen with the instruction to deliver them in the event that he did not make it back from the island alive.
According to the journal entries, the letters, and testimonies from the fishermen, Chau made various attempts to approach the island in the days before his death and was often driven back by the tribe who were known to treat outsiders with hostility.
On different occasions, he tried to give the tribe gifts and make contact with the tribe members who came to the beach in order to get a closer look at Chau and the fishermen.
On one occasion, he apparently thought a South African dialect would appeal to a tribe that has had little to no contact with the outside world,
“The man yelled, and Mr. Chau tried to respond, singing some worship songs and yelling back something in Xhosa, a language he apparently knew a few words of from when he coached soccer in South Africa a few years ago,” reports the New York Times.
View this post on Instagram
Join me and become an Ubuntu Teammate today! At @ubuntufootball, the vision and hope is that some day the boys in the academy will go back into their communities as positive role models and leaders. You can become a Teammate with them by clicking the link in my bio. #ubuntufootball #family #giveback #perkyjerky #soccer #empower #holidays #southafrica
View this post on Instagram
A year ago, I was at the Ubuntu House near Cape Town, South Africa, recovering from an illness I had acquired in India. Although I was probably more of a burden than a help, these guys welcomed me into their home and I am forever grateful to them! If you want to help with what @ubuntufootball is doing in raising up young leaders in South Africa, click the link in my bio! #ubuntufootball #theoutbound #travels #adventure #perkyjerky #wild #explore #football #southafrica
According to the publication, Chau travelled to North Sentinel on missionary work of his own volition and was under the impression that the island may have been “Satan’s last stronghold”.
In his writing, he also asked God what made the tribe so defensive and hostile.
Chau’s body is reportedly still on the island as police have failed to approach the island’s beach in order to retrieve it.