Some make jokes about it, others take offense at any allusion to
this custom which has become in their eyes barbarous and shameful.
According to Father Roussel, cannibalism did not disappear until after the
introduction of Christianity. Shortly before this, the natives are said to have
eaten a number of men, including two Peruvian traders. Cannibal feasts were held
in secluded spots, and women and children were rarely admitted. The natives told
Father Zumbohm that the fingers and toes were the choicest morsels.
The captives destined to be eaten were shut up in huts in front of the
sanctuaries. There they were kept until the moment when they were sacrificed to
The Easter Islanders' cannibalism was not exclusively a religious rite or the
expression of an urge for revenge: it was also induced by a simple liking for
human flesh that could impel a man to kill for no other reason than his desire
for fresh meat. (Man was the only large mammal whose flesh was available) Women
and children were the principal victims of these inveterate cannibals. The
reprisals that followed such crimes were all the more violent because an act of
cannibalism committed against the member of a family was a terrible insult to
the whole family. As among the ancient Maoris, those who had taken part in the
meal were entitled to show their teeth to the relatives of the victim and say,
'Your flesh has stuck between my teeth'. Such remarks were capable of rousing
those to whom they were addressed to a murderous rage not very different from
Easter Island - A Stone-Age Civilization of the Pacific
TRAVELING TO EASTER ISLAND
Easter Island may be remote, but it's very easy to get to.
LanChile, the national airline of Chile, flies jet airplanes here twice
weekly from Santiago, Chile's capital, and twice weekly from Tahiti. The island
has been a part of Chile since 1852.
Many locals who operate hotels and guesthouses arrive at Mataveri Airportto
greet the tourists.
The landing strip there is first rate because the U.S. space agency NASA
upgraded the existing one to serve as an emergency landing facility for the