Island Apologizes for Eating Missionary

South Pacific community hosts kin for reconciliation event
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Dec 7, 2009 6:07 AM CST
This BBC screenshot shows residents of South Pacific island of Erromango expressing regret to descendants of eaten British missionary John Williams.   (BBC)

(Newser) – In one of the stranger meetings we've seen lately, descendants of a British missionary and the descendants of cannibals who killed and ate him 170 years ago got together yesterday to bury the hatchet. It seems the South Pacific island of Erromango, now predominantly Christian, has been feeling bad about the murder of prominent proselytizer John Williamsm held, and invited his great-great-grandson and a handful of other relatives to accept their apology.

The scene, which the BBC filmed, involved reenacting the murder, with the Williams kin dressed up in matching green garb. The event was "very important" for the locals who believe it resulted in "some kind of curse on the island," said a member of the local parliament. "The intensity of feeling, the depth of the expression of regret have been hugely moving," Williams' great-great-grandson Charles Milner-Williams told the BBC. "I came in not knowing what to expect. But I came out in a curious way with my faith restored and refreshed."

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