Posted on October 16, 2019

Vanderbilt Marks ‘Indigenous People’s Day’ with ‘WHITE CANNIBALS’ Talk

Celine Ryan, Campus Reform, October 10, 2019

The Tennessee school will not celebrate Columbus Day this year, but instead will recognize Oct. 14 as “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.” On the agenda for Vanderbilt’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day celebration is a lecture about “European people-eating.”

In an attempt to combat “tales of bloody native rituals” that emerged with “the invasion of the Americas” and “titillated public imaginations in Europe,” Vanderbilt anthropology department chair Beth Conklin will introduce students to the history of “white cannibals” and a narrative involving “Europeans who cut up Indians’ bodies to use as medicine.”

According to the event flyer, the event will focus on the “well-documented” trend of 16th century European “medicinal cannibalism.”


Conklin’s academic publications include a book, titled Consuming Grief: Compassionate Cannibalism in an Amazonian Society, in which she analyzes the “funerary cannibalism” practices of indigenous communities within the Amazon rainforest who “ate the roasted flesh of their dead as an expression of compassion for the deceased and for his or her close relatives.”