NY vil­lage takes the chok­ing of Na­tive Amer­i­can out of its seal

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

WHITES­BORO, N.Y. (AP) — An up­state New York vil­lage that drew wide­spread scru­tiny last year for an of­fi­cial seal that ap­peared to de­pict a white set­tler throt­tling a Na­tive Amer­i­can has come out with a new de­sign that takes the hands away from the throat.

Whites­boro’s new seal still de­picts vil­lage founder Hugh White go­ing head-to-head in a wrestling stance with an Oneida In­dian, but the white man’s hands are on his op­po­nent’s shoul­ders, not near his throat.

Asked about the new de­sign that sticks with the con­fronta­tional theme, vil­lage clerk and regis­trar Dana Nimey-Ol­ney said Wed­nes­day that “we didn’t have a prob­lem with the wrestling match.”

Ac­cord­ing to an ac­count on the vil­lage’s web­site, in the late 1700s White set­tled the vil­lage that would bear his name and es­tab­lished good re­la­tions with the lo­cal Oneida tribe. When one of the In­di­ans chal­lenged him to a friendly wrestling match, White threw and pinned his op­po­nent.

“It was how they be­came friendly,” Nimey-Ol­ney said. “They wanted each other’s re­spect through things like this wrestling match.”

Whites­boro found it­self mak­ing na­tional news, in­clud­ing on Com­edy Cen­tral’s “The Daily Show,” in early 2016 when an on­line pe­ti­tion sought to change the seal, which some con­sid­ered racist and in­sen­si­tive. That led to the non­bind­ing vote, which ended with 157 res­i­dents vot­ing to leave the seal alone, out of 212 votes cast.

But after the vote, of­fi­cials in the vil­lage of 3,600 that’s lo­cated 80 miles (129 kilo­me­ters) north­west of Al­bany, said they would change the seal any­way.

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