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Group drops legal threats over Warroad Warriors logo

WARROAD, MInn. - Residents here have spoken and an organization threatening to sue its school district over the use of an American Indian logo has listened. The National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media rescinded an Aug. 15 letter it sent to Warroad Public Schools threatening legal action if the district does not begin moving away from its Warriors logo.

“My family and my parents taught me a long time ago that if you made a mistake, own up to it and apologize,” said David Glass, chairman of the group.

The letter called use of the logo, which features an American Indian head, a violation of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and said legal action would be taken if the district did not respond to the coalition within 30 days.

District Superintendent Craig Oftedahl said he was happy to hear the news of the decision.

“Our community has spoken very loud and clear of their support for the Warrior logo and our team name,” he said.

Following the letter’s arrival in Warroad, Henry Boucha, a former NHL player and U.S. Olympian who is an Ojibwe from Warroad, said he took to social media to garner support for the logo.

Coalition members invited Boucha to meet with its board of directors Monday in Minneapolis and present the history behind the town and the logo.

The town’s name comes from the war trail or “war road” the Ojibwe people traveled on to battle the Sioux, according to Boucha. He says the American Indian community also 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 said.

In addition to apologizing to the community, the coalition asked Boucha to serve on its board of directors — a position Boucha said he’s accepted.

Glass said coalition members will be visiting Warroad later on this year and participating in traditional prayer and pipe ceremonies.