The Killing and Eating of Reverend Baker

by Dan Dworkin

What would you do if you were asked to voluntarily give up your cell phone, computer, TV, and sex for a month? When I revisited my Peace Corps assignment after forty-two years away, the people of my village in Fiji, indeed the residents of the whole province, were doing just that, in a manner of speaking. They were giving up tobacco, yaqona (kava), their ceremonial drink, and sex for a month. Why would they do such a thing?

One hundred and forty years ago, the people of a nearby village, Nabutautau, killed and ate the Methodist Reverend Thomas Baker. When I visited in July, 2011 they were conducting a ceremony of reconciliation, begging the Methodist Church to forgive them for their ancestors' actions.

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