A town in Upstate New York will be voting today on whether or not the town’s seal will remain the same, but it’s not as simplistic as it sounds.
The town of Whitesboro(seriously), whose population is a modest 3,000, must hold a vote among residents to figure out whether or not to keep the current seal, which shows a white man appearing to be strangling a Native American.
“There’s been this nationwide controversy and it was time to put it to the residents,”
Whitesboro Village clerk Dana Nimey-Olney said in a phone interview on Friday.
Surrounded by the town’s name, the round logo at the heart of the controversy shows two men grappling against a grassy horizon. The man with the upper hand has white skin and long brown hair. The dark-skinned man in his grasp is not wearing a shirt, but has a feather in his close-cropped hair. His mouth is open in anguish, and he seems ready to collapse.
Nimey-Olney noted that the seal has changed over the years so that the settler’s hands are on the Indian’s shoulders and not his neck.
“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,” Nimey-Olney said.
The Oneida County community took its name from the color of residents, who make up 94% of the town’s residents and also from Hugh White, an early European settler who sat down a permanent site in 1784.
Hard to say how the vote will go, but Nimey-Olney said village residents seem to stand behind the image.“I’ve gotten a few phone calls from residents who say they don’t want it to change.”