Whitesboro seal up for village-wide vote

By Rachel Murphy Jan. 7, 2016

Video Credit: Rachel Murphy

WHITESBORO, NY-- Residents in the village of Whitesboro will soon decide the fate of a controversial image that some consider to be offensive.

The village seal has been a topic of controversy for decades, and residents will have the chance to vote on several different options to replace the image next week.

According to village officials, the seal depicts Whitesboro founder Hugh White and an Indian in a friendly wrestling match. But some feel that it appears White is pushing or choking the Indian.

Dana Nimey-Olney, the village clerk and a local historian said the seal portrays an historic match that White won which later gained respect from the local Indians.

But it has been a topic of debate since the 1960's.

During a village celebration in 1963 the image was modified by moving White's hands from the shoulders to the neck area.

Then in the '70s the village was sued by an Indian group over that depiction.

"They took it and changed it very slightly," she said. "They took his hands from around where they thought it was too close the Native American's neck and moved it to his shoulders and other than that it has stayed the same ever since."

Residents will have the chance to vote on eight to 10 new images to represent the village moving forward.

"We want to just put an end to it once and for all," said Mayor Patrick O'Connor. "Let the residents have the say about what seal they want to represent them and their home and they're history."

O' Connor mentioned that this vote isn't legally binding, it's an opinion and election rules do not apply to this voting process.

"But we want to hear what they feel, and what they have to say and how they want to be represented," he said.

Registered village residents can vote on Monday Jan. 11 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the village office on 10 Moseley St. in Whitesboro.

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