Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Andrei Head Hypocrisy

Another disembodied head is coming home and will be accorded due all honor and ceremony, honor and ceremony the erstwhile owner was not accorded in life.

Who was he? Well maybe the boffins at Te Papa will be able to ascertain that, probably not.

Was he an important man whose head was taken as a trophy by some neighboring tribe? Or was he some unfortunate slave tattooed then killed so his head could be traded for whiskey, blankets and muskets?

Whatever the truth - even if discovered, the true blackness of the world that the head's owner inhabited will not be discussed nor the truth that it was Europeans for all their sins that put an end to the horrors of that were an everyday reality of that unfortunate man's existance.

4 comment(s):

Lucia Maria said...

I wonder what is going to be done with the head?

Lucia Maria said...

"They would have been waiting patiently for someone to come and get them. I've heard it's taken five or six years to get to this stage but the tupuna has been waiting for over 130 years so these last few years have meant nothing."

It makes it sound like the heads are still alive!

KG said...

And who paid for this exercise in gross hypocrisy?

maps said...

'it was Europeans for all their sins that put an end to the horrors of that were an everyday reality'

Unfortunately, as Coley Patteson and the early members of the Melanesian Mission knew, white folks were intimately involved in the headhunting business in the Pacific. White traders looking for slaves for the sugar plantations in Queensland as well as tortoise shells and sandalwood actually beheaded Christian Melanesians and passed on the heads to pagan chiefs who still collected them as trophies. To take one of many examples: Patteson's own staff were on hand to report on the beheading of four Christian Melanesians at the hands on the crew of the white ship Water Lily at Florida Island in the Solomons in 1870. At Flordia, it was a case of white headhunters preying on black Christians (see pgs 368-369 of Charlotte Mary Yonge's biography of Patteson for an account of this incident). The conflation of 'European' and 'civilised' is a dangerous one, as the history of the twentieth as well as the nineteenth century should show.

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