Placid Scene May Replace Controversial Logo of Whitesboro, New York

A placid illustration of birds winging over a hilly river valley may replace the controversial image

A 20-year-old college student's design is being considered to replace an upstate New York village's official logo, which appears to show a white man throttling an Indian.

Whitesboro officials decided to change the image in January after it was ridiculed on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." Residents had voted 157-55 to keep the seal just weeks before that. 

The University at Albany says communications major and Whitesboro native Elizabeth Brigham designed the new logo. It's a placid illustration of birds winging over a hilly river valley.

Village leaders had defended the original seal against occasional criticism over the years, saying it shows a historic wrestling match that figured into good relations between early settlers and the Oneida Indian tribe.

Descendants of village founder Hugh White and representatives of the Oneidas will make the final call on whether to adopt Brigham's design.

Whitesboro's website says the emblem dates to the early 1900s and depicts a friendly wrestling match between village founder Hugh White and an Oneida Indian. It says White won the match and the lasting respect and goodwill of the Oneidas.

The seal has been modified slightly over the years. After a notice of claim was filed in the 1970s calling the picture offensive, a new version was drawn with White's hands on the Indian's shoulders instead of on his neck. 

Joel Barkin, a spokesman for the Oneida Indian Nation of central New York, said that regardless of the backstory, people tend to see the seal as depicting violence against Native Americans. He said that perception makes it an inappropriate symbol to represent a community.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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