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Advocacy group backs off threat to sue Warroad over school logo

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An advocacy group dropped its threat of a lawsuit against Warroad Public Schools over the district's use of an American Indian head as its school logo, Forum News Service reports.

The threat was rebuffed after Warroad residents and former North Stars player and U.S. Olympian Henry Boucha came out in support of the logo.

The Minneapolis-based National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media rescinded an Aug. 15 letter it sent to Warroad Public Schools, which said its use of the logo was a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

According to the Grand Forks Herald, the group said it would take legal action against the district if did not respond to the group within 30 days.

���If you choose to remain in denial, we will after a 30 day waiting period file all necessary and available actions to enforce the laws,” the letter said.

The Herald says the coalition also sent similar letters to school districts in Lamar, Colorado (Savages), Sarasota, Florida (Indians), and Wellpinit, Washington (Redskins). The last school district is part of the Spokane Indian Reservation.

Boucha, who is an Ojibwe from Warroad, started a social media campaign to support to the logo. He didn't mince words when calling into question the motives of the coalition in a post on his on his Facebook page.

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He also posted a photo and story to the "Save the Warroad Logo" page, in which he explains the history of the nickname – and his own family's role in it.

"It was Na-May-Poke who sold part of his land allotment to the Warroad School. A wise elder Na-May-Poke wanted the name Warroad Warriors instilled for the School. In honor of our ancestors blood that was given to keep the land in Warroad and on Lake of the Woods. In the early 90's, when the Civil Liberties Union wanted us to change our name, we stood our ground like our ancestors, and kept the name in honor of our fallen Warriors. In that Honor, the local Ojibwa/Anishinaabe Indian Community and he Indian Parent Committee (LIEC) designed the logo now use at Warroad High School, and along with the Indian Education Department support the name Warroad Warriors."

Boucha met with coalition members in Minneapolis Monday to discuss the history of Warroad and the logo. In his presentation, the former hockey player noted how the American Indian community came together to design the logo.

“When we explained the whole history to the board, they immediately felt that they made a mistake and didn’t realize how rich the culture and traditions were in the Warroad area,” Boucha told Forum News.

Coalition Chairman David Glass apologized for the legal threat saying, “My family and my parents taught me a long time ago that if you made a mistake, own up to it and apologize."

The flap over the Warroad Warriors logo comes as controversy continues in the NFL over the Washington Redskins logo and team nickname.

Earlier this month, the University of Minnesota said it was working with the Vikings on a plan that would bar the use of the "Redskins" nickname when they play the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in November, the Star Tribune reported.

Last season, former Vikings safety Joey Browner joined the American Indian Movement’s march to the Dome to protest the nickname when the two teams played each other.

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