Dress

About this object

Narrative

Woman's dress worn by attendees of the Williams Reconciliation Ceremony on Erromango, Vanuatu in 2009. (There were also shirts of the same material made for the male attendees.) Erromango, the largest island in the southernmost province of Vanuatu, was formerly known as Martyr's Island by the Presbyterian missionaries in the 19th century, because of the risk there attached to missionary work. John Williams of the London Missionary Society was killed at Dillon's Bay in 1839. In December 2009, after a lengthy collaboration between the Museum of Anthropology and church and cultural leaders in Vanuatu, descendants of John Williams travelled to Erromango to accept the apologies of the descendants of those who killed their ancestor in a Reconciliation Ceremony. To mark the occasion, Dillon's Bay was renamed Williams Bay.

Physical description

Short-sleeved, light green cotton dress with dark green floral design. Neck is square at back, V at front. Sleeves culminate in elastic with gathered and pleated cuffs. Waist has four small fabric panels per side, sewn into the hem. Bottom hem of dress is scalloped. All hems and fabric ends have been machine sewn with green thread.