New logo after 20 years will be replacing its existing imagery, which shows the isolated image of a Native American person wearing a headdress. Therefore, East Passyunk Avenue is getting the new logo. As a result, this process has begun with the EPA Business Improvement District.
New Logo Erases “Casual Racism” with Historical Accuracy
At this time, the logo appears along the South Philly retail corridor. It was called out in 2018 for its “casual racism.” Moreover, the design is similar to a bounty poster. The offensive image does not represent tribes who lived in this area.
“It’s exhausting, honestly,” said East Falls resident Cassie Mitchell, a native of the Modoc and Klamath tribes in Oregon who moved to Philadelphia four years ago. “When you’re there in that neighborhood, you get the feeling that people in the neighborhood couldn’t care less, [that] they don’t know anything about the logo or the history of it.”
Moreover, Pastor John Norwood, a former Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribal councilperson from South Jersey, said the image is not historically accurate.
Characteristic of the Western Plains Tribe not Lenape People
The headdress worn by the man on display on the Avenue is characteristic of the Western Plains indigenous tribes, Norwood explained. It’s not something a Lenape person — native to what is Philadelphia — would ever have worn.
From Bad to Worse: The Current Logo Represents Murder By Colonizers
The logo connects to the historic beheading of Indigenous peoples by colonizers.
“The cowboy and Indian movies made it popular,” Norwood said. “Everybody thinks that every Indian from the Atlantic to the Pacific fits into the cultural framework of a Plains Indian, and that would be ridiculous.”
Since BID executive director Adam Leiter, took over this position, his priority is to replace the logo. Leiter expects to reveal the new one by January 2021
“We absolutely recognize an update is necessary in order to address some misrepresentation,” Leiter told Billy Penn. “This has been an unwitting slight against the Lenape people.”
Tribute to Lenape People
Norwood, the pastor, would like to see the logo replaced with something else that honors the Lenape people native to this region. “At least now there’s some representation that this is an Indigenous area,” he said. “Erasing us would be even more offensive.”