The U.S. isn't the only nation that believes it can wash the historical record clean with a ritual apology. The BBC reports from Erromango, an island in Vanuatu that just apologized for its history of cannibalism:
A man whose great-great grandfather was killed and eaten by cannibals has taken part in a unique reconciliation event in the South Pacific….The reconciliation event, marking the 170th anniversary of the death of [Rev. John] Williams and his fellow missionary James Harris, has been long awaited.
The President of Vanuatu, Iolo Johnson Abbil, told the BBC it was a very important event for the country as a whole, where Christianity is now strong.
He said some people from Erromango feel the island has been under a kind of "curse" because of killing missionaries.
One difference between the Erromango apology and its American equivalents: This one has actual consequences.
The connection between the Williams family and Erromango will now continue.
They have agreed to take on responsibility for the education of a seven-year-old girl who was ceremonially handed over to them in exchange for the loss of John Williams.