Kari people

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Territory of the Kari (Aka-Cari) and other Andamanese peoples in the late 19th century (map widedened for clarity).

The Kari, Cari, or Chariar were one of the ten indigenous tribes of the Great Andamanese people, originally living on the northernmost part of North Andaman Island and on Landfall Island in the Indian Ocean.

The tribe spoke a distinctive Kari language, closely related to the other Great Andamanese languages. The native name for the language was Aka-Kari, Aka-Cari, or Aka-Chariar (Aka- being a prefix for "tongue"); and this name is often used for the tribe itself. They were exclusively shore-dwellers (aryoto).[1]


The Kari population at the time of first European contacts (in the 1790s) has been estimated at 100 individuals, out of perhaps 3500 Great Andamanese.[2] Like other Andamanese peoples, the Kari were decimated during colonial and post-colonial times, by diseases, alcohol, colonial warfare and loss of territory. The population was down to 39 individuals in the 1901 census, falling to 36 in 1911, 17 in 1921, and 9 in 1931.[3]

In 1949 any remaining Kari were relocated, together with all other surviving Great Andamanese, to a reservation on Bluff island; and then again in 1969 to a reservation on Strait Island.[4]

By 1994, the tribe was reduced to only two women, aged 57 and 59, and therefore was on its way to extinction.[3] They are a designated Scheduled Tribe.[5]


  1. ^ George Weber (~2009), The Tribes. Chapter 8 in The Andamanese. Accessed on 2012-07-12.
  2. ^ George Weber (~2009), Numbers. Chapter 7 in The Andamanese. Accessed on 2012-07-12.
  3. ^ a b A. N. Sharma (2003), Tribal Development in the Andaman Islands, page 62. Sarup & Sons, New Delhi.
  4. ^ Rann Singh Mann (2005), Andaman and Nicobar Tribes Restudied: Encounters and Concerns, page 149. Mittal Publications. ISBN 81-8324-010-0
  5. ^ "List of notified Scheduled Tribes" (PDF). Census India. p. 27. Retrieved 15 December 2013.