West Taghkanic Diner to take down neon sign with Native American image
Jammel Cutler reports for Columbia-Greene Media that the owners of the West Taghkanic Diner are planning to take down their neon sign depicting a Native American chief. “We feel it’s time to reconsider our use of the image,” according to a letter on display at the diner from the owners. “We know that people are not caricatures and don’t want to use people’s images without their input or consent.” The neon sign includes a Mohican tribal chief wearing a Great Plains-style headdress. The owners say they are talking to the local Forge Project, and the Stockbridge-Munsee Mohican Nation of Wisconsin about the sign. The Forge Project is a Columbia County-based, Native-led art initiative, and they released a statement saying, “Forge Project supports this decision and hopes that other businesses in the region will look to West Taghkanic Diner as a model for rethinking the types of images circulated of Native people and not spreading false and harmful stereotypes.” Jake Malone of Taghkanic said, disagreed, saying, “Why go and tamper with things?... The sign has been up since I was a kid. I don’t understand why they want to change it now.” Others agreed. Robert Barnes of Columbia County said, “Everything can’t stay the same forever.... Change is important. You have to move on with the times or get left in the past. I don’t have an issue with the sign coming down, and those who have a problem just have to deal with it. I’m not going to stop coming to the diner because of a sign — that’s so stupid.” The diner is on Rt. 82 at an exit of the Taconic Parkway. Read more about this story at HudsonValley360.com.