Maybe you're proud of the fact that you still haven't updated to Facebook Timeline or started a Twitter account, or that you still read all of your books on paper. But no matter how hard you swim against the mainstream, there are some groups out there who will always top your anachronistic stubbornness -- groups that have managed to avoid pretty much all of civilization right up until, oh, about nowish.
#6. The Sentinelese
The Sentinelese tribe make their home on North Sentinel Island, India. They're named after the island they live on, because nobody actually knows what they call themselves. In fact, generally speaking, nobody knows much of anything about them. After they survived the 2004 tsunami that swept right over their island (another thing we don't know: how the hell they managed to do that), we sent a few helicopters over the island to photograph them and make sure they were still around.
"That's good. They can probably zoom in later with computers."
How Did They Avoid the Modern World for So Long?
Easy. Here are the shots from those helicopters:
The whole tribe is set on Aggro Mode.
In 2006, two fishermen whose boat drifted into the shallows near the island were killed by the Sentinelese and then buried in shallow graves. Helicopters flying overhead located their burial sites, but were unable to land because (you guessed it) the locals immediately started shooting arrows at them. Despite the fact that they have basically no idea what a helicopter is, aside from a giant metal bird that occasionally screams through the air to try (and fail) to avenge the deaths of the last invaders.
And it worked: The modern world just up and backed the hell down. Local policemen refused to go collect the bodies, claiming that if they went in they would be "killed by poison darts and arrows smeared with blood" (which we admit is a pretty good excuse).
It's not just our pansy modern-day PC culture that backs away from the Sentinelese with their palms in the air, beseeching a whole island to be like a bunch of little Fonzies. Even our braver, manlier ancestors didn't want to go to the kind of dances the Sentinelese threw: Their rep goes back centuries, when Marco Polo called them "a most violent and cruel generation who seem to eat everybody they catch." In other words, during the hundreds of years in which the rest of the world was invading and conquering each other like it was going out of style, these guys were so unfriendly that everyone decided to just give up, and leave Jerk Island alone.
#5. The Korowai Tribe
The Korowai tribe of Papua, Indonesia, was first contacted in the 1970s by archaeologists and missionaries, at which point they were still using stone tools and living in wooden treehouses. Since then, they uh ... yeah, they pretty much still just do the stone tool and treehouse scene.
Here's one man fashioning a crude processor to upgrade his iBow.
How Did They Avoid the Modern World for So Long?
The Korowai believed that the entire world would be destroyed by an earthquake if they ever changed their customs. Now that's either a batshit crazy level of commitment to tradition or a really killer excuse for when whitey comes around and asks you to stop living in your bitchin' treehouse. Regardless, it worked: The missionaries decided to take a hands-off approach and not risk the angry earthquake god of the Korowai.
A member of the tribe, seen here escaping an earthquake.
More importantly, the Korowai's location is so densely forested and mountainous that most of its villages don't even have contact with each other, let alone with the outside world. When the tribe was surveyed by census officials in 2010, they first had to walk for two weeks -- after a long trip by boat from the nearest (still extremely friggin' remote) villages.
Plus, instead of discouraging tourism via a liberal application of murder, like the Sentinelese, the Korowai seem content to just prank society until it goes away. In addition to the totally-for-real earthquake that they "swear" will happen if they "ever put on pants," the Korowai also duped an Australian news team who trekked out to the area in 2006. The tribe put forward a young boy for the reporters to film, telling them a heart-rending story about how he was in danger of being eaten by cannibals. After the team somberly filmed the story and left, another news crew flew in to stage a dramatic on-screen rescue ... and was immediately arrested for not having visas, presumably to the tune of raucous Korowai laughter.
"OH GOD, DON'T TOUCH ME!"
An expert on the tribe insists that this is exactly the kind of thing they do and assured reporters that the cannibalism story was embellished from the start, that the Korowai are likely just a tree-bound band of merry pranksters and that the only thing they want with the modern world is to see the looks on our faces.
#4. The Man of the Hole, aka the Loneliest Man on Earth
There is a man currently living in isolation in the Brazilian rainforest. He has been there for at least 15 years. He builds his own palm huts and digs five-foot-deep rectangular holes in the middle of each. We don't know what he uses them for, because these huts are abandoned as soon as anybody gets anywhere near them. No other people in the area build huts like this, which has led researchers to believe that this man is the last surviving member of his tribe. No one knows what language he speaks or the name of his ex-tribe, so we shall call him Rectanglor, of the Rectangulons, because he probably doesn't get the Internet in that rectangle; what's he gonna say about it?
Here is a rare shot of him creating his holes, using crude, primitive tools.
How Did He Avoid the Modern World for So Long?
In 1988, Brazil's new constitution granted local Indians the rights to lands they traditionally inhabited. While it seemed like a good idea in theory, in practice it meant that a tribe could not just be "forcibly relocated" anymore by asshole developers who, being assholes, just started killing them with chainsaws instead.
That's probably what happened to the rest of this guy's tribe: His first and only contact with the modern world involved all of the people he knew existed being killed by hyper-advanced monsters with crazy future-weapons. He is, essentially, living the plot of Independence Day, with the rest of the world replaced by the jungle, and the bad guys replaced by the rest of the world.