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Lead Story


January 14th, 2010

Natives of the Erromango section of the Pacific island Vanuatu recently held a formal "conciliation" with the great-great-grandson of the British missionary whom the islanders' ancestors ate when he c...

Natives of the Erromango section of the Pacific island Vanuatu recently held a formal "conciliation" with the great-great-grandson of the British missionary whom the islanders' ancestors ate when he came ashore in 1839. Charles Milner-Williams' forebear, Rev. John Williams, was regarded as the most famous Christian missionary of the era. Vanuatan legislator Ralph Regenvanu told BBC News that cannibalism was traditionally a sacred warrior practice for "vanquishing a threat (and) absorbing the power of the enemy." Nonetheless, he said, the island has long felt "guilt" and even a "complex" from killing and eating Rev. Williams. In penitence, Vanuatu symbolically gave the Williams family a 7-year-old girl, who will not be eaten but whose education Milner-Williams promised to underwrite.
 
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