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The Cholanaikkans are an ethnic group of India, primarily inhabiting the southern Kerala State, especially Silent Valley National Park. They are one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes of the region.

  • Population: 190-200 (2001 census: 360~)
  • Found in the late 1970s
  • Live in caves and rely on hunting and gathering
  • Do not cultivate due to the destruction of produce by animals such as elephants
  • Said to have moved to South due to natural disasters such as floods or fleeing due to their defeat under the dynasties from the North
  • Worships trees and follow animism which is the belief that everything (living or non-living) is bound by some spiritual connection
  • They are short in stature, wheatish to dark complexion, and well-built
  • Have their own distinctive language
  • Follow a patriarchal family structure
  • The literacy rate is around 16% with one graduate among them. Most drop out after one semester in school
  • We also talk about the Sentinelese from the Sentinel Islands. Enjoy!

Image credits: Dhruvaraj S from India - A Cholanaikkan Nilambur. Cropped 1:1 ratio.


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