Key Facts about Onge Tribe

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Andaman’s Onge tribe king Totoko and queen Priya welcomed a baby boy recently, bringing the tribe’s total population to 136.

About Onge Tribe:

  • Onges are one of the most primitive tribes in India that belong to the Negrito racial ancestry. 
  • They are inhabiting Little Andaman Island, the most southerly island in the Andaman archipelago.
  • They are a semi-nomadic group and were dependent on the ocean and the forest for sustenance.
  • Unlike other religions, they do not believe in or follow firm worshipping practices or sacrifices.
  • The colour of the teeth has a unique interpretation among Onges, who consider the pearly white teeth a symbol of death. They continue to chew the bark to impart a red colour to their teeth.
  • They decorate their bodies and their faces with white and ochre clay. On special occasions, they place a greater emphasis on body ornamentation.
  • Until the 1940s, the Onge were the sole permanent inhabitants of Goubalambabey (the Onge name for Little Andaman).
    • They now share the 732 sq km island with around 17,000 settlers from India, Bangladesh, and the Nicobar Islands. ‘
  • The Onge population was also decimated following contact with British colonists and Indian settlers; it fell from 670 in 1900to only 96 members by the early 2000s.
  • In 1976, the Onge were settled in order to have ‘the basic facilities for hygienic living and protection against elements of nature’.
    • They now live in a reserve in Dugong Creek (Little Andaman) that is a fraction of the size of their original territory.

They Onge tribe is also one of the world's least prolific and infertile communities. Infertility affects somewhat more than 40% of married couples.

Q1: Which tribes live in andaman and nicobar islands?

The tribes of the Islands belong to two different races. The Andamanese, Jarawas, Onges and the Sentinelese living in the Andaman group of islands belong to the Negrito group while the Nicobarese and Shompens, living in Nicobar Islands belong to the Mongoloid group. Except Nicobarese, the rest of the 05 tribes are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).

Source: Andaman’s Onge tribe king, queen welcome baby boy, population now 136