This week, we talk about the tribe of Cholanaikkans

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.