For years, the small village of Whitesboro, New York, has been the butt of jokes due to their controversial logo seeming to show a white man choking a Native American. On Friday, they finally decided to change it.
The reversal comes following intense national backlash to the town voting on Jan. 11 to keep the logo.
The mayor of Whitesboro, Patrick O'Connor, announced Friday that the village and the Oneida Indian Nation have agreed to meet to discuss the creation of a new emblem for the town.
Whether or not the seal is racist has been debated since the 1970s, and even more fervently over the past few years, with a recent report from The Daily Show bringing the controversy to wider national attention.
"The seal is absolutely not racist," Mayor O'Connor said to Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams in the segment. "The seal depicts our founder Hugh White ... [who] was invited to engage in a friendly wresting match with [a Native American."
Town clerk Dana Nimey-Only told Williams that in 1977 there was a vote to move the white pioneer's hands from the neck to the shoulders, and the village board proposed another vote in 1999 to change the seal altogether. The second vote was never held, O'Connor said, because no alternative designs were submitted.
The non-binding vote from earlier this month that prompted the Daily Show segment had 157 of 212 voters casting in favor of keeping the logo.
The majority of the town cited "keeping the history" intact, but following the uproar, Mayor O'Connor decided to change the seal regardless.
"In speaking with a lot of the residents that voted to keep the seal, I think they were surprised at the negative attention that Whitesboro was receiving as a result of the vote. They wanted to preserve history ... but also want to ensure that Village is seen as the inclusive place that it is," O'Connor said in a statement released Friday.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our community to create its own piece of history that they can be proud of for the next 100 plus years to come."
Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter called the change "but one of many important examples of communities taking welcome steps to be inclusive and promote our region's commitment to civility."
The Village of Whitesboro did not immediately return BuzzFeed News' request for comment.
Read the full statement below:
Ema O'Connor is a politics reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.
Contact Ema O'Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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