Although the town has taken a vote and the folks that live there are fine with the Whitesboro seal, this small Upstate New York village has succumbed to the nationwide pressure to change the seal that many see as racist. At first glance it looks like a pioneer man dressed in Davy Crockett-like attire taking down a Native American with his bare hands, but this scene on the Whitesboro seal depicts an actual historical event.
The town said this event was a wrestling match that actually took place long ago between the founding father of the town, Hugh White, and a Native American. It was a friendly match that was won by White. It is not a seal that is demeaning to Native Americans, as this event was of historical significance to this town. This is how the villagers basically see this seal, according to DB Techno News on January 23.
The seal is an image of a wrestling match in process. The match starts with two men standing face to face and the goal of the match is to push the opponent so they are off-balance. The “seal is based on historical events that fostered a good relationship between our founder and American Indians,” explained Whitesboro’s Mayor O’Conner.
According to the Christian Science Monitor today the debate over this scene has some saying it depicts a racist image and others deeming the image as an historical event. It has brought so much attention to this little village, but is this the type of attention the town wants? It could be this negative attention may be what drives the bus on changing the seal on the town’s sign? Or maybe not, but either way they have decided to do away with the image that does teeter on looking a bit violent.
This is not the first time this seal has gone under fire, as it was tweaked back in 1977 to get the founding father’s hands off the neck of the American Indian. The hands were moved down to the shoulder area. Now that the town has agreed to change the sign again, will they move the hands down to the waist area or will they completely revamp the sign so it doesn’t denote any hands on contact between the two men at all?
A representative of the Oneida Indian Nation applauded the town’s decision to do away with that seal. He feels it will “better reflect the core values of the community.” Let’s face it, unless you knew the story behind this seal while driving into Whitesboro as a visitor, you probably would have thought that this pioneer man was strangling the Native American man.
“The Daily Show” had a field day with the seal tweeting that this Upstate New York village is “the town whose seal needs to look a little less Whitesboro.”