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'Highly insensitive' carousel horse at park in Colorado removed

thornton carousel.jpg
Posted at 3:05 PM, Jun 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-08 18:05:21-04

THORNTON, Colo. — A carousel horse at a park has been removed after the city was made aware of its insensitive imagery.

Over the weekend, M.J. Jimenez was riding the park's carousel with her 8-year-old niece. That's when she noticed the horse in front of her.

"My mouth dropped open when I realized it was a Native American head in a saddlebag," said Jimenez of the carousel.

The carousel was made in the 1920s. It was purchased by the City of Thornton from a local store that went out of business. It was moved to Carpenter Park in 2013.

"It’s a dehumanizing tactic, and it sort of shows we are not people," said Leala Pourier, an Indigenous People activist.

Pourier says the carousel's depiction is disheartening.

"It’s just further proof that American culture has frozen Native Americans in the past," Pourier said.

Only hours after the city was made aware of the carousel's insensitive image, the horse was taken down.

The City of Thornton tells Denver7 in a statement:

"We are grateful for bringing to our attention the highly insensitive carousel horse in Carpenter Park. We are in complete agreement with Mary Jane Jimenez about the inappropriate design for the horse. As soon as we read the social media posts Monday morning, Thornton staff members went out and looked at the horse and removed it from the carousel. We regret that patrons have been exposed to this imagery for far too long."

Thornton plans to take this opportunity to use the space on the carousel to create something that is more ADA compatible.

Gary Brode at KMGH first reported this story.