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N.Y. village concedes to national pressures, changes official seal

By Marilyn Malara   |   Jan. 23, 2016 at 12:19 PM

WHITESBORO, N.Y., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- An upstate New York village reversed its earlier decision to keep its controversial official seal, depicting a white man and Native American in hand-to-hand combat, after increased national attention.

Whitesboro leaders announced the decision Friday, several weeks after village residents voted to keep the seal commemorating a "friendly wrestling match" between the town's founder, Hugh White, and an Oneida Indian.

Mayor Patrick O'Connor said local officials will work with leaders of the Oneida Indian Nation to develop a new, less offensive image, according to Fox News.

In a statement obtained by the New York Times, O'Connor expressed his small town's desire to "preserve history," while also representing the area as "the inclusive place that it is."

The seal originated from the story of Whitesboro's beginnings, when founder White engaged in an encouraged wrestling match with a member of the Oneida tribe. The match prompted positive relations between settlers and natives, but the crudely-drawn seal suggests a different story.

Earlier this week, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah highlighted the issue of the seal when it ran a segment criticizing the logo, which appears on all official police vehicles, correspondence and city signs.

The news parody's correspondent, Jessica Williams, spoke with Native American advocate Ben Miller, who launched a Change.org petition calling for the logo's removal, during the segment.

"All we want to do is progress and move forward," Miller said.

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