Target: Mayor of the Village of Whitesboro Patrick J. O’Connor
Goal: Change offensive city seal depicting a white man choking a Native American.
The city of Whitesboro, New York has a prominent seal displayed that depicts a white man violently choking a Native American to the ground. According to town legend, and put-on-the-spot politicians, the seal was made to display a historical fight between the settler Hugh White and a Native American chief in order to gain respect. But no matter what the seal is supposed to represent, the image is offensive, hurtful, and racist.
Many Native American communities have shown their outrage with the seal, and one group even went to the lengths of suing the city to change the seal. Their answer was the remove the white man’s hands from the Native American’s neck, and instead to his shoulders. The image still depicted a white settler dominating a Native American chief, a painful reminder of the massive genocide that occurred by the settlers’ hands during our colonization. There are countless other ways to depict the city’s rich history, and even ways to display the exchange of respect between Hugh White and the Native Americans. Tell the Mayor of Whitesboro to change the city seal by making the image unoffensive.
Dear Mayor O’Connor,
I am extremely shocked and offended that you would allow your historic city seal to remain so racially discriminating and disturbing. Your seal is not only a shocking depiction of violence, but it also shows the quite literal domination of the white man over Native Americans. As we move into a more peaceful and civil society, there is no reason to keep this painful reminder of the struggle and genocide that occurred between the settlers and natives.
You’ve already been told by Native Americans to change the emblem, and even when forced to change it by court of law the only modification made was the placement of Hugh White’s hands. The story of Hugh White and his battle with the Native American is clearly a significant symbol of the village’s heritage, but there are other ways to show it without evoking dark and sensitive feelings with the topics of violence or race. Instead of properly representing your history, it encourages discrimination and violence amongst your citizens. Please change your city seal and make your emblem and symbol of hope and community, instead of one of discrimination.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Doug Kerr