The New York village of Whitesboro recently voted to keep their town seal amid a deepening controversy. By a surprisingly overwhelming majority residents voted 157-55 to leave the current seal as it is.
The seal has created so much controversy because it appears to show an early American settler choking a Native American. According to Whitesboro’s website, the logo is from the early 1900s and shows “a friendly wrestling match between village founder Hugh White and an Oneida Indian.”
Village clerk and historian Dana Nimey-Olney claims that there is nothing offensive about the seal.
“Whitesboro views this seal as a moment in time when good relations were fostered. It is a wrestling match, part of the history, and nothing more,” Nimey-Olney said.
“But for some reason people still want to say it looks like the Native American is being choked even though the hands are on the shoulders not the neck,” she added.
However, the logo has been causing controversy for generations and has been changed several times, as a result, to make it look less like an assault, however, the overall tone of the image has remained the same. In the 1970’s the Oneida tribe sued the town and forced them to make slight alterations to the logo, but they were not satisfied with the changes.
The seal is actually fairly pronounced in the town of Whitesboro as well, as it appears on the town’s welcome sign, police cars and official documents.
Earlier this year, a petition calling for the removal of the seal began to gather large numbers of signatures.
The petition read:
“It is no longer appropriate to shroud oneself in the Confederate flag, or use Native Americans as mascots. Businesses have stopped selling Confederate memorabilia, and the Washington Redskins have been shunned for refusing to change their distasteful name. Americans are standing up and speaking out against images and rhetoric that can be construed as hateful.”
The recent vote to keep the logo is non-binding and can be overturned. It is expected that appeals will be filed and people will continue to push for its removal.
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John Vibes is an author and researcher who organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference. He also has a publishing company where he offers a censorship free platform for both fiction and non-fiction writers. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can purchase his books, or get your own book published at his website www.JohnVibes.com.