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Cannibalism and Colonialism: Charting Colonies and Frontiers in Nineteenth-Century Fiji

  • Tracey Banivanua-Mar (a1)


In my family, stories of our Fijian ancestors' cannibalism have been irreverently recycled in tale-telling moments laced with both solemnity and the absurd. I never seriously questioned the reality of the stories, accepting instead their mythical quality and their underlying social allegory. With almost a wink and a nudge these tales of past cannibalism come to life as fables that nearly always taper off into the redemption of being civilized. As I explore in this article, for us as for many who engage cannibal stories, cannibalism refers to more than the cultural practice of anthropophagy. In the wake of William Arens' provocative critique of this meta-myth, it has become more difficult in recent years to uncritically accept and repeat claims of other peoples' cannibalism. Studies by a generation of scholars of history and culture have ensured that the study of cannibalism now is as likely to interrogate those that view and seek it, as it is to examine those reputed to practice it. Anthropologies of tourism and cultural critiques too have cemented its conceptualization as an enduring discourse of savagery.


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1 Arens, William, “Rethinking Anthropophagy,” in Barker, Francis, Hulme, Peter, and Iversen, Margaret, eds., Cannibalism and the Colonial World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 3962.

2 Arens, William, The Man-Eating Myth: Anthropology and Anthropophagy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979); Hulme, Peter, Colonial Encounters: Europe and the Native Caribbean, 1492–1797 (London: Methuen, 1986); Hulme, Peter, “Introduction: The Cannibal Scene,” in Barker, Francis, Hulme, Peter, and Iversen, Margaret, eds., Cannibalism and the Colonial World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998); Obeyesekere, Gananath, “‘British Cannibals’: Contemplation of an Event in the Death and Resurrection of James Cook, Explorer,” Critical Inquiry 18, 4 (1992): 630–54; Goldman, Laurence R., ed., The Anthropology of Cannibalism (Westport, Conn.: Bergin and Harvey, 1999); Dennis O'Rourke's film Cannibal Tours, directed and produced by Dennis O'Rourke in association with the Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies, 1988.

3 See for example Lyons, Paul, “Lines of Fright: Fear, Perception and the ‘Seen’ of Cannibalism in Charles Wilkes's Narratives and Herman Melville's Typee,” in Creed, Barbara and Hoorn, Jeanette, eds., Body Trade: Captivity, Cannibalism and Colonialism in the Pacific (Annandale, N.S.W.: Pluto Press, 2001), 126–48; Lyons, Paul, American Pacificism: Oceania in the U.S. Imagination (London: Routledge, 2005); Bruner, Edward, “Of Cannibals, Tourists, and Ethnographers,” Cultural Anthropology 4, 4 (1989): 438–45; Conklin, Beth, “Consuming Images: Representations of Cannibalism on the Amazonian Frontier,” Anthropological Quarterly 70, 2 (1997): 6878; Kaspin, Deborah, “On Ethnographic Authority and the Tourist Trade: Anthropology in the House of Mirrors,” Anthropological Quarterly 70, 2 (1997): 5357; Morris, Rosalind, “Anthropology in the Body Shop: Lords of the Garden, Cannibalism and the Consuming Desires of Televisual Anthropology,” American Anthropologist 98, 1 (1996): 137–46; Burns, Peter M. and Figurova, Yana, “Tribal Tourism ‘Cannibal Tours’: Tribal Tourism in Hidden Places,” in Novelli, Marina, ed., Niche Tourism: Contemporary Issues, Trends and Cases (Amsterdam and Sydney: Elsevier, 2005), 101–10.

4 See for example Arens, “Rethinking Anthropophagy”; Arens, William and Sahlins, Marshall, “Cannibalism: An Exchange,” New York Review of Books 26, 4 (1979): 4547.

5 Thomas, Nicholas, “The Inversion of Tradition,” American Ethnologist, 19, 2 (1992): 213–32; quote, 214.

6 Obeyesekere, Gananath, Cannibal Talk: The Man-Eating Myth and Human Sacrifice in the South Seas (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005), 2.

7 Obeyesekere, Cannibal Talk, 2; See also Obeyesekere, “British Cannibals”; Halvaksz, Jamon, “Cannibalistic Imaginaries: Mining the Natural and Social Body in Papua New Guinea,” The Contemporary Pacific 18, 2 (2006): 335–59.

8 Scott, James, Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance (Yale University Press, 1985).

9 Obeyesekere, Cannibal Talk, 267; Arens, William and Obeyesekere, Gananath, “Cannibalism Reconsidered: Responses to Marshall Sahlins,” Anthropology Today 19, 5 (2003): 1819.

10 “The Fiji Cannibal Exhibition” toured the U.S. west coast in 1873 and featured “Two celebrated Fijian Chiefs … and General Ra Biau, the Dwarf, Thirty-five Years of age, and only 3 feet 4 inches high, all Regular Man Eaters … also the hand of the Late Lovoni Rebel King.” Thomas, Nicholas, Entangled Objects: Exchange, Material Culture, and Colonisation in the Pacific (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991), 166. For other examinations of representations of Fiji, see Creed, Barbara and Hoorn, Jeanette, eds., Body Trade: Captivity, Cannibalism and Colonialism in the Pacific (New York: Routledge, 2001); Lyons, American Pacificism; Obeyesekere, “British Cannibals”; Obeyesekere, Gananath, The Apotheosis of Captain Cook: European Mythmaking in the Pacific (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992); Thomas, Nicholas, “The Force of Ethnology: Origins and Significations of the Melanesian/Polynesian Division,” Current Anthropology 30, 1 (1989): 2741; Berglund, Jeff, Cannibal Fictions: American Explorations of Colonialism, Race, Gender and Sexuality (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006).

11 Pratt, Mary Louise, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (London; New York: Routledge, 1992), 67. The term “encrypted traces” is borrowed from Bronwen Douglas: “Colonial texts encrypt traces of Indigenous actions … which in unintended muffled but sometimes profound ways, helped formulate colonial experiences, strategies, actions and representation.” See Douglas, Bronwen, “Encounters with the Enemy? Academic Readings of Missionary Narratives on Melanesians,” Comparative Studies in Society and History 43, 1 (2001): 42.

12 On the carving out of the Colo region, see Tanner, Adrian, “Colo Navosa: Local History and the Construction of Region in the Western Interior of Vitilevu, Fiji,” Oceania 66, 3 (1996): 230–52. See also Kaplan, Martha, “Meaning, Agency and Colonial History: Navosavakadua and the Tuka Movement in Fiji,” American Ethnologist 17, 1 (1990): 322.

13 See Obeyesekere, Gananath, “Cannibal Feasts in Nineteenth-Century Fiji: Seamen's Yarns and the Ethnographic Imagination,” in Barker, Francis, Hulme, Peter, and Iversen, Margaret, eds., Cannibalism and the Colonial World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 6386. I have elsewhere termed this wider discourse of savagery, headhunting, and cannibalism in the western Pacific “Melanesianism.” See Banivanua-Mar, Tracey, Violence and Colonial Dialogue: The Australian-Pacific Indentured Labor Trade (Honolulu: University of Hawaìi Press, 2007), 3–4, 15–17, 171–72.

14 Said, Edward, Orientalism (New York: Pantheon, 1978), 6.

15 On the Anthropophagi, see Herodotus, , The Histories, de Salincourt, A., trans. (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1954), 306. Much has been written on Europe's peripheral people. See for a start: Russell, Jeffrey, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1972); Bartra, Roger, Wild Men in the Looking Glass: The Mythic Origins of European Otherness (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994), 37; Zika, Charles, “Fashioning New Worlds from Old Fathers: Reflections on Saturn, Amerindians and Witches in a Sixteenth-Century Print,” in Merwick, Donna, ed., Dangerous Liaisons: Essays in Honour of Greg Dening (Melbourne: History Department, University of Melbourne, 1994), 249–82. See also Baudet, Henri, Paradise on Earth: Some Thoughts on European Images of Non-European Man (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), 23.

16 By 1796, “carib” had evolved into the English derivative “cannibal,” which no longer referred to man-eating groups of the Caribbean, but to, “A man (esp. a savage) that eats human flesh, a man-eater, and anthropophagite.' Oxford English Dictionary, 1796, cited in Hulme, Colonial Encounters, 15–16. See also Boucher, Phillip P., Cannibal Encounters: Europeans and Island Caribs, 1492–1763 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992).

17 The best known of such treatises on Amerindian rights, by Hugo Grotius, Alberico Gentili, and Francisco de Vitoria, carried over in various forms into Protestant and French schools of legal thought whose focus tended to be more on defining the right of discovery. The notable exception within the Spanish school was Bartolome de Las Casas, who famously argued during the Valladolid debate (1550–1551) that cannibalism and human sacrifice were, firstly not universal practices in the Americas, and secondly not enough to justify a war of conquest. See Green, L. C. and Dickason, Olive P., The Law of Nations and the New World (Edmonton, Alberta: The University of Alberta Press, 1989). See also Armitage, David, The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, Skinner, Quentin et al. , eds. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Boucher, Cannibal Encounters.

18 Cook, J. and King, J. A., Voyage to the Pacific Ocean Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty…, 3 vols., vol. 1 (London: 1784), 371, 374. The journals of William Anderson, David Samwell, and Charles Clerke, which were published in 1967, all mention the same incident. All three are in Beaglehole, J. C., ed., The Journals of Captain James Cook of His Voyages of Discovery (Cambridge: The Hakluyt Society, 1967): W. Anderson, “A Journal of a Voyage Made in His Majestys Sloop Resolution,” the incident mentioned on p. 958; D. Samwell, “Some Account of a Voyage to the South Seas,” p. 1043; and C. Clerke, “Extract,” p. 1312.

19 Address by Thomas Haweis to the London Missionary Society, 1795, cited in Williams, Glyndwr and Marshall, Peter, The Great Map of Mankind: British Perceptions of the World in the Age of Enlightenment (London: Dent, 1982), 294.

20 Wilson, William, A Missionary Voyage to the South Pacific Ocean… (London: 1799), 283, 284.

21 Porter, Dennis, Haunted Journeys: Desire and Transgression in European Travel Writing (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1991), 20. See also Obeyesekere, “British Cannibals,” 635.

22 Twyning, John, Shipwreck and Adventures of John, P. Twyning among the South Sea Islanders: Covering an Account of Their Feasts, Massacres & C. (London: Dean, 1850), 41; Wilkes, Charles, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition: Tongataboo, Feejee Group, Honolulu. Vol. 3. (Suva: Suva Fiji Museum, 1985), 46.

23 Wilson, A Missionary Voyage, 283; Williams, Thomas, Fiji and the Fijians, Vol. I: The Islands and Their Inhabitants, Rev. Rowe, G. Stringer, ed. (London: Alexander Heylin, 1858), 11.

24 Rev. Lawry, William, Friendly and Feejee Islands: A Missionary Visit to Various Stations in the South Seas… , Rev. Hoole, E., ed. (London: C. Gilpin, 1850), 4.

25 Britton, Henry, Loloma; or Two Years in Cannibal-Land: A Study of Old Fiji (Melbourne: S. Mullen, 1884), 147.

26 Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, 363.

27 A footnote can barely do justice to the period of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, which saw massive upheavals in land tenure and notions of property rights in Britain, the United States, and British colonies. While Lockean notions had long justified European occupations of unused land for resettlement, intensified population pressures, famines, and agrarian revolutions throughout Europe, along with the rising dominance of utilitarian philosophies and economies, developed a social and legal sensitivity to the apparent wastage of indigenous land. See Hackshaw, Frederika, “Nineteenth-Century Notions of Aboriginal Title and Their Influence on the Interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi,” in Kawharu, I. H., ed., Waitangi: Maori and Pakeha Perspectives on the Treaty of Waitangi (Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1989), 92121; and Weaver, John C., The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World, 1650–1900 (Quebec: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003), 2528; Yelling, J. A., Common Field and Enclosure in England 1450–1850 (London: Macmillan Press Ltd., 1977).

28 Cook and King, Voyage to the Pacific Ocean, 375; Wallis, Mary, Life in Feejee, or, Five Years among the Cannibals: By a Lady (Suva: Fiji Museum, 1983), 290.

29 St. Johnston, Alfred, Camping among Cannibals (London: 1883), 211; Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, 62. On the Melanesian/Polynesian division, see Thomas, “The Force of Ethnology,” 33.

30 In order: Lucas, Thomas, Cries from Fiji and Sighs from the South Seas… (Melbourne: n.p., 1885), 19; Calvert, James, Fiji and the Fijians, Volume II: Mission History (Suva: Fiji Museum, 1985), 19; Ref. Lawry, William, A Second Missionary Visit to the Friendly and Feejee Islands… , Rev. Hoole, E., ed. (London: n.p., 1851), iv; Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, 74, my emphasis.

31 On borders, taboos, and transgressions, see Porter, Haunted Journeys, 9.

32 Erskine, John, Journal of a Cruise among the Islands of the Western Pacific: Including the Feejees and others Inhabited by the Polynesian Negro Races, in Her Majesty's Ship (London: Dunn and Collins, 1853), 182. Also see the contained excerpt of Lt. Pollard, “Extract from Lieutenant Pollard's Journal of his Visit to the Feejee Islands in Her Majesty's Schooner, Bramble in 1850,” 291.

33 Coffin, Robert, The Last of the Logan… (New York: Cornell University Press, 1941), 83. On smell, see Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, 155; Calvert, Fiji and the Fijians, 37; and Rowe, George Stringer, The Life of John Hunt, Missionary to the Cannibals (London: Hamilton, Adams and Co., 1860), 105.

34 Erskine, Journal of a Cruise, 189; John Jackson, “Narrative by John Jackson,” in Erskine, Journal of a Cruise, 438; Gaggin, John, Among the Man-Eaters (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1900), 58.

35 Cumming, C. F. Gordon, At Home in Fiji (London: 1881), 114; Johnston, Camping among Cannibals, 226–27; Wilkes, Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, 102.

36 Rev. Webb, A. J., “Observations on the Hill Tribes of Navitilevu, Fiji,” In Spencer, B., ed., Report of the Second Meeting of the Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science Held at Melbourne, Victoria, in January 1890 (Sydney: Australasian Association for the Advancement of Science, 1890), 626; Patterson, S., Narrative of the Adventures, Sufferings and Privations of Samuel Patterson, a Native of Rhode-Island… (Providence: Printed at the Journal Office, 1825), 93.

37 Lawry, Friendly and Feejee Islands, 89; Stringer Rowe, Life of John Hunt, 55.

38 Endicott, William, Wrecked among the Cannibals in the Fijis: A Narrative of Shipwreck and Adventure in the South Seas (Salem, Mass.: Marine Research Society, 1923), 5571. On Endicott, see also Obeyesekere's discussion of seafaring yarns in “Cannibal Feasts.”

39 Hulme, “Introduction,” 24.

40 Lawry, Second Missionary Visit, 91, 208.

41 Wallis, Life in Feejee, 31.

42 Obeyesekere, “British Cannibals.”

43 Mar, Tracey Banivanua, “Frontier Space and the Reification of the Rule of Law: Colonial Negotiations in the Western Pacific, 1870–74,” Australian Feminist Law Journal 30 (2009): 2339.

44 Forbes, Litton, Two Years in Fiji (London: 1875), 277: “‘Gone to Fiji’ bore the same significance in Australia as ‘Gone to Texas’ did in America a few years ago.”

45 Gaggin, Among the Man-Eaters, 16–17.

46 Robinson, Ronald and Gallagher, John, Africa and the Victorians: The Official Mind of Imperialism (London: Macmillan, 1961). For a fascinating study of the deployment of taxonomies of violence at the local level of imperial magistrates, see Bailkin, Jordanna, “The Boot and the Spleen: When Was Murder Possible in British India?Comparative Studies in Society and History 48, 2 (2006): 462–93.

47 To gain a sense of the wider context of commercial exodus from the United States during this period, see Beckert, Sven, “Emancipation and Empire: Reconstructing the Worldwide Web of Cotton Production in the Age of the American Civil War,” The American Historical Review 109, 5 (2004): 1405–38.

48 For the most recent studies of the Pacific indentured labor trades see Banivanua-Mar, Violence and Colonial Dialogue; Shineberg, Dorothy, The People Trade: Pacific Island Laborers and New Caledonia (Honolulu: Center for Pacific Island Studies, University of Hawaìi Press, 1999).

49 Tanner, “Colo Navosa.”

50 Martha Kaplan's work on the Ra district offers a fascinating account of the ways in which Christian/Cannibal and ally/rebel dichotomies were readily mapped onto existing pre-colonial divisions between coastal and interior groups. See her, “Meaning, Agency and Colonial History”; and, Neither Cargo nor Cult: Ritual Politics and the Colonial Imagination in Fiji (Durham: Duke University Press, 1995), 19–45.

51 Throughout this period of cyclical violence the people of the interior were known as Kai Colo. While this literally translates as being a person from Colo, kai colo also came to be synonymous with backward, savage, wild, heathen, and of course, cannibal—indeed the term still implies this.

52 Diapea, William, Cannibal Jack: The True Autobiography of a White Man in the South Seas (London: Faber and Gwyer, 1928), 63.

53 Forbes, Two Years in Fiji, 329, 331.

54 Fiji Times, 3 Feb. 1872. This is in reference to an expedition into the Ba River area in early 1872 to avenge the deaths of Macintosh and Spiers. A participant wrote to the papers soon after to complain of the “chicken hearted whites” that had failed to join the expedition.

55 This was reported by the Fiji Times, and by an eyewitness Georgian Wright who counted three hundred deaths. See Kaplan, Neither Cargo nor Cult, 44.

56 Ibid., 1–46.

57 While there were a number of American settlers in Fiji it is not clear what direct connections there were between the Ku Klux in Fiji and the first Ku Klux Klan in the United States. See Banivanua Mar, “Frontier Space,” 30–39; and on comparative protection societies and volunteer corps in frontier colonies, see Weaver, The Great Land Rush, 55.

58 Acting British Consul to Earl Granville Secretary for Foreign Affairs, 8 Sept. 1873, PRO FO 58/135, pp. 253–81. See also on the legal status of punitive expeditions and vigilante activity, Julian, Charles St., The International Status of Fiji and the Political Rights, Liabilities, Duties, and Privileges of British Subjects, and other Foreigners, Residing in The Fijian Archipelago (Sydney: F. Cunninghame, 1872), 16–18, 28–19.

59 This is explored more thoroughly in Banivanua Mar, “Frontier Space,” 25–28. On frontiers, see also the contributions to Russell, Lynette's edited collection, Colonial Frontiers: Indigenous-European Encounters in Settler Societies (Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 2001; distributed in the United States by Palgrave).

60 For details on the periods of the 1860s and 1870s and early power struggles, see Legge, J. D., Britain in Fiji: 1858–1880 (London: Macmillan, 1958), 16–76, 80–137; Routledge, David, Matanitu: The Struggle for Power in Early Fiji (Suva: Institute of Pacific Studies, University of the South Pacific, 1985); Scarr, Deryck, “Cakobau and Ma'afu: Contenders for Pre-Eminence in Fiji,” in Davidson, J. W. and Scarr, D., eds., Pacific Island Portraits (Canberra: Australian National University Press, 1970), 95126; Young, John, Adventurous Spirits: Australian Migrant Society in Pre-Cession Fiji (St. Lucia: University of Queensland Press, 1984).

61 Denoon, Donald, Mein-Smith, Philippa, and Wyndham, Marivic, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), 74.

62 FNA (Fiji National Archives) DCS 88/1876, Arthur Gordon to Carnarvon, 6 May 1876, regarding disturbances in Viti Levu. Gordon repeated the accusation that settlers deliberately spread measles in a public address in 1879 to which “a Colonist” retaliated by implying that Gordon himself could well be accused of deliberately introducing smallpox, cholera, and dysentery. See the pamphlet Anon., Fiji: Remarks on the Address Delivered by Sir Arthur Gordon, G.C.M.G., at the Colonial Institute, March 18, 1879, by a Colonist (Levuka: n.p., 1879), 8–9; copy held at Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales. Although germ theory was still in its relative infancy in 1874, the notion that diseases, particularly smallpox and cholera, were communicable, and could be deliberately spread, was well established. On British uses of disease in conquest, see Butlin, Noel, Our Original Aggression: Aboriginal Populations of Southeastern Australia, 1788–1858 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1983).

63 See Kelly, John D., “Gordon Was No Amateur: Imperial Legal Strategies in the Colonization of Fiji,” in Merry, Sally Engle and Brenneis, Donald, eds., Law and Empire in the Pacific: Fiji and Hawaìi (Santa Fe: School of American Research Press, 2003), 6875.

64 Detailed in FNA DCS 88/187, Arthur Gordon to Carnarvon, 6 May 1876. See also Kaplan, “Meaning, Agency and Colonial History”; Kaplan, Neither Cargo nor Cult; Tanner, “Colo Navosa.”

65 Vunivalu of Bau Cakobau, Sir Hercules George Robert Robinson, and Wilkinson, David, Regulations of the Native Regulation Board, 1877–1882 (London: Harrison and Sons, 1883).

66 Gordon, A. H., ed., Letters and Notes Written during the Disturbances in the Highlands (Known as the ‘Devil Country’) of Viti Levu, Fiji, 1876., vol. 1 (Edinburgh: Clark, 1879), 423–38. An earlier account was sent to the Colonial Office in July 1876 that mentioned Onesavi's plea of “not guilty.” Because he was a noted “cannibal and by his own avowal ate nearly the whole body of Josia one of the attacking party killed at Koro Vatunia,” he was sentenced to death. PRO CO 83/10, in letter 10039 of 1876, Governor to Secretary of State, regarding “Complete success of Sir Gordon's expedition to … of the cannibal tribes of Sigatoka”, 1 July 1876.

67 FNA CG 41 183/1872, W. Burns to the Minister of Lands, 5 Jan. 1872, regarding “The Mountaineers coming down”. FNA CG 43 497/1872, Various to Minister for Native Affairs, 15 June 1872, regarding “The dangerous state of Ba River.”

68 FNA, Entry for Sunday 1:00 a.m., Sunday, 9 Feb. 1873, Diary and Narratives of Edwin J. Turpin, 1870–ca. 1894.

69 Fiji Times, 11 Sept. 1873.

70 Lucas, Cries from Fiji, 24.

71 Cooper, H. Stonehewer, ed., Our New Colony Fiji: Its History, Progress and Resources (London: The Mortgage and Agency Co. of Australasia, 1882), 11.

72 Stringer Rowe, Life of John Hunt, 127.

73 Anon., “The Fiji Islands,” Pall Mall Budget, 24 Apr. 1874: 13.

74 Grimshaw, Beatrice, Fiji and Its Possibilities: Illustrated from Photographs (New York: Doubleday, Page and Co., 1907), 37.

75 Mrs. Smythe, , Ten Months in the Fiji Islands, by Mrs. Smythe with an Introduction and Appendix by Colonel, W. J. Smythe (Oxford: J. H. and J. Parker, 1864), 83.

76 Guha, Ranajit, “The Prose of Counter-Insurgency,” in Guha, Ranajit and Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty, eds., Selected Subaltern Studies (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988), 4586.

77 Gordon, ed., Letters and Notes, 422.

78 Routledge, Matanitu; Scarr, “Cakobau and Ma'afu”; Kaplan, Neither Cargo nor Cult.

79 FNA CG 43 865/1872, Walter Haynes to Minister for Native Affairs, 31 Oct. 1872; FNA CG 43 730/1872, J. C. Smith to Minister for Native Affairs, 26 Sept. 1872; FNA CG 41 151/1872, J. P. Wilson to the Minister for Native Affairs, 26 Jan. 1872; FNA CG 41 182/1872, J. P. Wilson to Minister of Native Affairs, 12 Feb. 1872.

80 FNA PG 43 460/1875, Exekaia Buli Tavia to Minister for Native Affairs, 26 Aug. 1875; FNA CG 41 186/1872, A. Tempest to Minister for Native Affairs, 27 Jan. 1872.

81 Tanner, “Colo Navosa,” 231.

82 Kaplan, “Meaning, Agency and Colonial History”; Kaplan, Neither Cargo nor Cult.

83 Of those found guilty, fifteen were shot. Twenty death sentences were eventually commuted to hard labor on plantations. Arthur explained that the commutations demonstrated that the “Government is so strong that it can afford to pardon. … There is no man or place in Fiji that, sooner or later, I cannot reach, and if any do wrong in this fashion, most surely, they will be punished for it.” Gordon, ed., Letters and Notes, 423. See also Public Records Office, Kew (PRO) CO 83/10, in letter 10039 of 1876.

84 Guha, “Prose of Counter-Insurgency,” 45–86.

85 Hogg, Garry, Cannibalism and Human Sacrifice (London: Robert Hale, 1958), 23, 16.

86 Sahlins, Marshall, “Raw Women, Cooked Men, and Other “Great Things” of the Fiji Islands,” in Brown, Paula and Tuzin, Donald, eds., Ethnography of Cannibalism (Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association, 1983), 87.

87 My emphasis. Sahlins, “Raw Women, Cooked Men,” 90. Likewise Peggy Reeves Sanday, in her study of the cultural system of cannibalism in Fiji referred to cases of the “sucking babes,” repeating Lawry's 1850 account virtually word for word. Divine Hunger: Cannibalism as a Cultural System (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 161.

88 Mar, Tracey Banivanua, “‘A Thousand Miles of Cannibal Lands’: Imagining Away Genocide in the Re-Colonization of West Papua,” Journal of Genocide Research 10, 4 (2008): 583602. Kingsnorth, Paul, “Spot the Real Savage,” New Statesman 15 Mar. (2004): 13.

89 Stasch, Rupert, “Giving Up Homicide: Korowai Experience of Witches and Police (West Papua),” Oceania 72 (2004): 3352.

90 Anon., The Age, 6 Sept. 1995: 11.

Thanks to Patrick Wolfe, Julie Evans, and Kalissa Alexeyeff for their invaluable insights, and Patricia Grimshaw, Marilyn Lake, and Nicholas Thomas who all offered input into the ideas discussed in this article. Articles in this article were first aired and worked through at the Law's Empire Conference in British Columbia, Canada; and the Trajectories of Law Conference in Auckland, New Zealand in 2005 where they received valuable feedback; and the final form of this article owes much to the engaged critique and gentle prodding of its three anonymous readers.

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