Montreal amusement park pulls carousel horse showing Indigenous man’s severed head

Montreal’s La Ronde amusement park says it has removed a carousel horse depicting an Indigenous man’s severed head in a bag.

The move comes after several complaints, including one by a resident of the Kahnawake Mohawk reserve near Montreal who shared a photo of it online this week.

Jessica Hernandez said she’d heard about its existence and saw it during a visit to the popular park Wednesday.

For her part, she said all she did was post photos on Facebook and Twitter showing a man’s head in a bag on the saddle.

“I wanted to see what people had to say,” Hernandez said Friday. “I thought: ‘how long has this been here? No one has said anything?’”

Hernandez, a mother of two, said the depiction was disturbing and shocking to see, particularly amid efforts to improve education about Indigenous culture.

“For us as Indigenous people, we know what that symbolizes, we’re taught about it and we’re educated on what an Indian head or scalp meant in history,” she said. “It incites a certain emotion in us when we see it.”

Hernandez says she was sad to learn it took multiple complaints, including some reportedly from park employees, to have the horse ultimately removed.

Julie Perrone, a spokeswoman for La Ronde, confirmed in an email the horse was taken out of commission. She didn’t provide any further details about the ride.

“The offensive symbol has since been removed and we apologize to our guests for this oversight,” she said Friday.

La Ronde, one of Canada’s largest amusement parks, is operated by U.S.-based Six Flags.