A town seal that depicts hundreds of years of historical significance in the town of Bethlehem is being called into question by outgoing Independence Party board member Tim Gordon.
Gordon, who will represent Bethlehem as part of the 108th state Assembly district in January, is requesting that the Bethlehem Historical Association and members of the town board find out the name of the American Indian standing next to explorer Henry Hudson in front of the Halfmoon sailing sloop in the seal.
It always seemed odd to me that it depicts two individuals and only one, Henry Hudson, has a name, said Gordon. Gordon said his intent is to bring forth a discussion to possibly improve on the design that was developed around the time of the country's bicentennial more than 31 years ago, around April 1975.
"It doesn't seem to me to show a full appreciation for the native American," Gordon added.
The discussion item appeared at the Dec. 13 meeting of the town board, surprising some of the public in attendance. Town resident and former candidate for town supervisor Robert Jasinski pointed out that the town seal is on all the vehicles, stationary, and various other material the town distributes, and doesn't see the need for a change.
"The town seal itself is something precious," Jasinski said. "When you change it, you're going to be making a drastic change."
No one is really sure of the historical accuracy of the picture inside the town seal or who the American Indian standing next to Henry Hudson might actually be.
"No, I don't know," said town historian Raymond Houghton Jr., who is beginning to research the subject.
"We probably know it was a Mohican-Native American who possibly observed him going up the Hudson," said Houghton. Houghton said research does not tell of any particular meeting between Henry Hudson and an American Indian.