Mexico Dog Sculptures Removed On Protest

(AP) Sculptures of Chihuahua dogs wearing traditional outfits were yanked from a stop along Mexico's Copper Canyon railway after protests from Tarahumara indigenous groups that found them offensive, a state official said Thursday.

Officials removed the 5-foot-tall fiberglass sculptures from Chihuahua state's annual "Dog Parade" in Urique on March 13, said Jesus Avalos, a spokesman with the state government's office for Tarahumara affairs.

The annual exhibit, begun in 2006 and intended to promote tourism along the canyon railway popular with travelers, has previously featured dog sculptures dressed as policemen, cowboys and firefighters.

This year, they wore colorful Tarahumara dress in a bid to promote the group's way of life, Avalos said.

But indigenous leaders considered the display an insulting comparison of their people to animals, said Jaime Enriquez, an executive member of the Chihuahua Tarahumaras Coordination body.

"The sculptures were placed right in the middle of the indigenous zone during the traditional holy week, and one was painted with religious colors," he said. "The timing and the location made them even more offensive."

Many of the reclusive Tarahumaras, who call themselves Raramuri, still live in caves throughout Mexico's rugged Copper Canyon.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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