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Doll taken on shuttle irritates Hopi Indians

A clay doll patterned after a Hopi Indian religious symbol was taken aboard the space shuttle Columbia, prompting some Hopis to complain that the figurine isn't authentic. The 4{-inch kachina-style doll, a bear decorated with rabbit fur and feathers, was brought aboard by Dr. Drew Gaffney, a Carlsbad, N.M., native. Astronauts commonly pack small mementos.

Elsie Morales, 51, of Los Alamos, N.M., said Wednesday she got goose bumps when she learned Gaffney planned to take one of her works. Morales, who is not Hopi, said her dolls are patterned after authentic Hopi kachinas and are sold in stores for $18 to $40.

Kachina Chief Lawrence Keevama of Shungopavi, Ariz., a Hopi reservation town, called a meeting of Hopi religious leaders concerned about the use of the doll.

"To even call the doll a kachina would be a sham," said Bertha Torres, a spokeswoman for the religious leaders. "It's too bad it wasn't an authentic kachina. That would have been the way to approach it and work with the religious leaders."

She added: "To use Hopi history, mythology and religion to promote her objects is an insult to Hopis."

Kachinas come in many human and animal likenesses and symbolize gods, ancestors or forces.