The Confederate flag has been the center of controversy following the horrific Charleston shooting for being a racist symbol. It took one brave woman removing the flag from a statehouse and several stores dropping all Confederate merchandise, but South Carolina finally voted to take down the flag. Yet one New York mayor doesn’t seem to think the seal for his village, in which a white man is seen grabbing a Native American by the neck, is racist. 

The seal belongs to Whitesboro, New York—an already sketchy name to begin with—a small village near the Mohawk River, neighbor to Whitestown, founded in the late 1700s by Hugh White. According to the village’s site, the seal shows a “friendly wrestling match,” although the image looks much more aggressive, with the Native American being forced to retreat, causing many to call the seal racist.  

Director of the Redhawk Native American Arts Council in Brooklyn, Cliff Matias, agrees:

“The first thought that anyone has of this image is, ‘There’s some white guy killing an Indian, strangling an Indian,'? It’s saying, ‘Well, they didn’t just conquer and defeat the people, but they also beat them in a wrestling match.’ It’s utterly ridiculous that a town would have pride in a symbol like that in this day and age.”

In the 1970s, a Native American group actually sued Whitesboro over the seal, causing the village to change the seal so that the white man’s hands were on the Native Americans shoulders instead, but a permanent change never happened.

Whitesboro mayor and seal defender Patrick O’Connor said he knows people are offended by the symbol because they’ve contacted him about it. But he didn’t agree with their feelings, saying, 

“And 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. But, [as with] everything else, I think you have to take all the facts into consideration. And if people take the time to do that and they reach out to us, or they do the research themselves, it’s actually a very accurate depiction of friendly wrestling matches that took place back in those days.”

Because we all know friendly wrestling matches were a touchstone in history and were how our forefathers took over the U.S. 


[via The Village Voice]