February 28, 2010

Massachusetts towns with bad seals

Looking for seal approval

By George BrennanRight in the backyard of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, the town of Mashpee seal features an Indian with a similar arm and sword overhead that Indian leaders said last week they find so offensive on the Massachusetts seal.

"We haven't brought it up to Mashpee, but yes, I would like to see it changed," said Jim Peters, a Mashpee Wampanoag tribe member and resident of the town.

Mashpee and Massachusetts aren't the only ones who use Indian symbols as part of the official seals. Indian symbols are used across the state, including six other towns on Cape Cod that have an Indian references on their official logos—everything from an Indian in a headdress in Eastham to a teepee in Bourne to a group of Indians waiting onshore for a boat in Wellfleet.

Tuesday, the state Commission on Indian Affairs unanimously endorsed legislation that would set up a commission to find an alternate state logo. Peters, executive director of the commission, said his agency urges all communities to review their use of Indian symbols.

"Is it a place of honor or is it to rally the troops?" he said. "They should look at them and teach students what really happened in the formulation of their communities. It isn't always positive."
Comment:  Seeing the Mashpee seal emulate the Massachusetts seal makes me like the sword arm less. Once may be a coincidence, but two or more times starts to send a message.

Wow, these are some lame and stereotypical seals. They say nothing about the towns they supposedly represent. They're all about using Indians to justify the towns' existence.

"Yes, we forced the Indians off their land and killed the ones who resisted," they seem to say. "But look, we have an Indian on our seal. That makes it a seal of approval. We didn't steal the Indians' land, we inherited it. They welcomed us and are glad to see us take their place."

For more on the subject, see The Political Uses of Stereotyping.


Anonymous said...

Dude, it's just a state seal. If you don't like it don't look at it or draw your own!!!

Rob said...

Dude, it's just a blog. If you don't like it, don't read it.

If you or a Massachusetts town wants to pay me, I'll be glad to design a new seal. It won't be hard to do a better one.

dmarks said...

Whoa, dude!