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Apologizing For Cannibal Ancestors

From National Review, September 24, 2007:

In unusually cheering news from the strange little world of ethnic apologizing, the Tolai tribesmen of Papua New Guinea have expressed formal regret for having killed, cooked and eaten four missionaries back in 1878. The missionaries were Fijian Methodists under the direction of the indefatigable Rev. George Brown of the Wesleyan Missionary Society.  Led by the governor-general of Papua New Guinea (himself a Tolai), thousands of villagers gathered to offer their apologies to Britain’s Fijian High Commissioner (i.e. ambassador), and to listen to eulogies of Reverend Brown.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ziya February 28, 2010, 2:49 am

    This is ironic given that the Fijians themselves were cannibals in the early 1800’s (with Fiji being known as the Cannibal Islands).

    Just an interesting side note; I don’t believe the Fijians have ever issued any apologies for the many ‘long pigs’ (their description of humans that they considered edible) that they consumed, including one Captain Baker whose memorial still stands in Nausori, Fiji (containing his boots since it was they were the only items that the Fijians were unable to consume due to the toughness of the leather).

  • Cat June 26, 2011, 1:28 pm

    If we all apologized for what all of our ancestors did, we would spend our entire lives researching and apologizing. It’s a geometric progression: two parents, four grandparents, eight great grandparents. Figure 20-25 years for a generation and you have a million direct ancestors by the 1500’s. Only God knows what all those folks got up to that we would find offensive. I have enough to do keeping myself in line.