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SHOMPEN TRIBE OF GREAT NICOBAR ISLAND



  Apr 23, 2024

SHOMPEN TRIBE OF GREAT NICOBAR ISLAND



1. Who are the Shompen?

The Shompen are one of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in India, residing in the dense tropical rainforests of Great Nicobar Island. They are indigenous people known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle, largely isolated from the outside world.

2. Where do the Shompen live?

The Shompen live on Great Nicobar Island, which is part of the Nicobar Islands, located in the eastern Indian Ocean. They inhabit the interior areas of the island, away from coastal regions.

3. What is the lifestyle of the Shompen?

The Shompen are traditionally hunter-gatherers and also practice shifting cultivation. They hunt with bows and arrows and gather forest produce for their sustenance. Some have recently begun to engage in settled agriculture.

4. What makes the Shompen particularly vulnerable?

The Shompen’s vulnerability stems from their isolation, small population size, and limited interaction with the outside world, which exposes them to risks from diseases and environmental changes. Their traditional ways of life and dependence on the forest also make them susceptible to any disruptions in their natural habitat.

5. How does the government protect the Shompen?

The Indian government has designated the Shompen as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group, which entitles them to special protection measures. These include efforts to preserve their land, culture, and rights, alongside providing them with healthcare, education, and development programs tailored to their needs without disrupting their lifestyle.

6. Are there any cultural practices unique to the Shompen?

The Shompen have unique cultural practices that include distinct rituals, languages, and crafts. They are also known for their traditional dances and music, which play a significant role in their communal gatherings.

7. How many Shompen are there?

The exact number of Shompen is difficult to determine due to their semi-nomadic nature and isolation. However, recent estimates suggest their population is small, only a few hundred individuals.

8. What challenges do the Shompen face today?

Challenges include the impact of modernization and climate change on their traditional forest-based lifestyle, potential land encroachments, and health vulnerabilities due to limited immunity against common infectious diseases.


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