A controversial symbol of the Village of Ossining’s past will begin receding into the rearview mirror this fall, with its new seal appearing on municipal vehicles and buildings.
The new seal depicts the historic architecture along the village’s Main Street corridor, the waterfront, and Hook Mountain across the Hudson River. Ossining’s 1813 incorporation date is also noted.
“By the middle of October, you will see the entire fleet of vehicles proudly wearing their new seals,” Mayor Rika Levin wrote in a Sept. 6 email to residents. She added: “The seal will also be visible on our buildings’ entry doors.” Official correspondence already contains the new logo, she said.
The seal produced by Brian Sheridan of Hothouse Designs was adopted in January after a lengthy process that included a back-and-forth between village officials and a survey that received more than 500 responses.
The image replaces one with the profile of a Native American head that had been used for more than 75 years. That image had been deemed outdated and offensive, although some clung to it out of tradition.
“The Village Board of Trustees, while understanding that many Village residents feel an attachment to the ‘Indian’ Seal, are also cognizant of the fact that as times and attitudes have evolved, a fresh review was in order,” Levin wrote in May.
The board, she said, opted for an image “that is distinctly Ossining and looks towards a bright future, flanked by architectural design evocative of the Village’s historic past.”
The updated seal comes amid a nationwide reappraisal by teams, schools, and other entities over the use of Native American symbols and mascots. In 2002, Ossining High School changed its nickname from the Indians to the Pride, although not without protest from some in the community.