Target: Whitesboro Mayor Patrick O’Connor
Goal: Change city seal that shows the strangulation of a Native American man.
The murder of a Native American at the hands of a white man is what is depicted on the city seal for Whitesboro, New York. It is unbelievable that such a racist, violent image celebrating centuries of genocide and conquest has somehow survived into our modern era. Demand that the village of Whitesboro change its seal as soon as possible.
Whitesboro is a small village in upstate New York of about 4,000 residents. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Confederate flag following the tragic terrorist attack at a black church in South Carolina, Whitesboro’s city seal has come under increasing scrutiny. The seal, which greets visitors on a sign on the edge of the city, appears to show a white man—Hugh White, the founder of the village—strangling a member of the local Oneida Native American tribe.
Horrifyingly, despite the widespread condemnation the town is receiving for this racist seal, its mayor, Patrick O’Connor, is refusing to back down from it. “If they looked at the seal and went with an opinion based solely on what they’re looking at, I could understand why people would have concern about it,” he said. “It’s actually a very accurate depiction of friendly wrestling matches that took place back in those days.”
There is nothing friendly about the genocide of tens of millions of Native Americans, and the defense of a portrait that celebrates that genocide is absolutely deplorable. Sign the petition below to demand that Mayor O’Connor immediately change Whitesboro’s city seal.
Dear Mayor O’Connor,
I am writing you today regarding your city seal. Despite your defenses, there is no excuse for the continued use of this violent, racist image by your city. Indeed, it is so clearly inappropriate that it should never have been used in the first place.
It is estimated that anywhere between 80 million and 100 million Native Americans were killed after the Europeans made landfall on the continent. Whether you think the image on your seal is a “friendly wresting match” or not, the message it sends to those who see it is that this massive genocide should be celebrated. It says that your community is proud of the murder of Native Americans that took place to make way for European settlements and colonization.
It should not have to be pointed out why this is inappropriate. Your seal is racist, violent, and reveres the atrocities that the incipient United States committed against Native Americans instead of condemning them. I demand that you repeal this seal and change it as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Village of Whitesboro