Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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Virgin of Guadalupe procession, early 90s

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Chamula’s unusual church

This “Catholic” church in Chamula, Chiapas, was unique in that the indigenous peoples had taken over the church, removed the Catholic presence and grafted their own spiritual beliefs onto it. For instance, we sat in on a service and watched a curandero (medicine man) slit the throat of a chicken.

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The altar was devoid of religious iconography and instead there were strings of coloured lights. Encased in glass displays running down both side walls were dusty, withered Spanish and Catholic figures. Photographs inside the church were strictly forbidden, on the point of death.

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