“We used to eat people”

Revelations of a Fiji Islands Traditional Village


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About the Book

Living in a reed hut on Taveuni—the “garden isle” of Fiji—the author studied the native language and carefully observed their traditions until he was accepted as a (somewhat unusual) member of the village.
Despite five cyclones the summer of 1985, daily life was idyllic. Cannibalism has been abandoned, reluctantly, at the behest of the new Christian God. But the old religion survived beneath the facade and priests danced naked on the beach beneath the full moon. The village pulsated with factions and feuds, resolved by the stern but benevolent chief, whose word was law. Legends told of a princess born as a bird, who was killed and thus became a comely maiden—but the murderer had to be cooked and eaten.

About the Author(s)

R.M.W. Dixon is an anthropological linguist at James Cook University in Cairns, Australia. He has authored many books on linguistic theory, and grammars based on fieldwork in the Amazonian jungle, in the rainforest of north-east Australia, and in Fiji.

Bibliographic Details

R.M.W. Dixon
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 218
Bibliographic Info: 39 photos, 3 maps, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7181-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3070-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Maps vi

Author’s Note 1

1. Getting There 3

2. “This is paradise” 22

3. Our Village 42

4. “No cyclone today!” 66

5. “Do you want to live or do you want to die?” 91

6. Becoming a Part of the Village 110

7. A Divine Visitor 127

8. A New House and a New Baby 158

9. “Oh dear! Roopate is getting ready to go!” 183

Epilogue 205

References by Chapter 207

Index 209