The woman who befriended the Sentinelese

Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay and her team broke the ice with the Sentinelese by offering them lots of coconuts.
Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay and her team broke the ice with the Sentinelese by offering them lots of coconuts. PHOTO: COURTESY OF MADHUMALA CHATTOPADHYAY
Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay and her team broke the ice with the Sentinelese by offering them lots of coconuts.
Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay and her team broke the ice with the Sentinelese by offering them lots of coconuts.PHOTO: COURTESY OF MADHUMALA CHATTOPADHYAY
The Sentinelese made contact with Dr Chattopadhyay (above) with caution, but killed missionary John Allen Chau (left) when he landed on their shores.
The Sentinelese made contact with Dr Chattopadhyay with caution, but killed missionary John Allen Chau (above) when he landed on their shores. PHOTO: REUTERS
Dr Madhumala Chattopadhyay and her team broke the ice with the Sentinelese by offering them lots of coconuts.
The Sentinelese made contact with Dr Chattopadhyay (above) with caution, but killed missionary John Allen Chau when he landed on their shores. PHOTO: REUTERS

Anthropologist and team made the only two recorded friendly contacts with tribesmen

Determined to bring Christianity to a tribe that has shunned contact with the rest of the world, American missionary John Allen Chau was reportedly killed by the Sentinelese when he landed on their shores in November, in a story that has travelled across the world.

In a lesser-known encounter on Jan 4, 1991, two boats with outsiders drifted close to the island inhabited by the Sentinelese, to a location that today seems ironically named - Allen Point.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2019, with the headline 'The woman who befriended the Sentinelese'. Print Edition | Subscribe