Sunday, February 07, 2010

she dead...,

CNN | The last member of an ancient tribe that has inhabited an Indian island chain for around 65,000 years has died, a group that campaigns for the protection of indigenous peoples has said.

Boa Sr, who was around 85 years of age, died last week in the Andaman islands, about 750 miles off India's eastern coast, Survival International said in a statement.

The London-based group, which works to protect indigenous peoples, said she was the last member of one of ten distinct Great Andamanese tribes, the Bo.

"The Bo are thought to have lived in the Andaman islands for as long as 65,000 years, making them the descendants of one of the oldest human cultures on earth," it noted.

With her passing at a hospital, India also lost one of its most endangered languages, also called Bo, linguists say.

"She was the last speaker of (the) Bo language. It pains to see how one by one we are losing speakers of Great Andamanese and (their) language is getting extinct. (It is) A very fast erosion of (the) indigenous knowledge base, that we all are helplessly witnessing," read an obituary in Boa Sr's honor posted on the Web site of the Vanishing Voices of the Great Andamanese (VOGA) project.
"Boa Sr was the only speaker of Bo and had no one to converse with in that language.
--Anvita Abbi

Project director Anvita Abbi, a professor at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, met with Boa as recently as last year. "She was the only member who remembered the old songs," Abbi recounted in her obituary.

"Boa Sr was the only speaker of Bo and had no one to converse with in that language," Abbi told CNN. Her husband and children had already died, the linguist said.

Other than Bo, she also knew local Andaman languages, which she would use to converse, according to Abbi.

Boa Sr was believed to be the oldest of the Great Andamanese, members of ten distinct tribes. Survival International estimates there are now just 52 Great Andamanese left.