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South Pacific island worships U.S. life

UPI News Service, 02/17/2007 

In stark contrast to much of the international community, some in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu worship the United States like a god.

The Telegraph said a cult on Tanna, one of Vanuatu's islands, recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of its "Jon Frum" movement, which is all about honoring everything American.

While men march about dressed as U.S. soldiers with USA painted on their chest and backs, a giant feast is prepared to help the cargo cult honor the United States.

Lamkara village chief and cult leader Isaac Wan said that the annual ceremony, which includes "The Star Spangled Banner" played by boys with bamboo flutes and a tin band, is mired in history.

"For us, America is very good," he said. "There's a friendship between Tanna people and America from the war."

The village chief was referring to a World War II effort in which the United States provided the nation with supplies that the cult has linked to an outsider the tribe refers to as John From America.

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Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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