North Dakota's Transportation Department was threatened with a civil rights complaint before it dropped its nearly century-old image of a Sioux warrior from thousands of highway signs.

Transportation Director Grant Levi says the threat played no part switching the silhouette of Marcellus Red Tomahawk in favor of an outline of North Dakota.

Levi says the new signs are being placed in part to celebrate the agency's 100th birthday.

Red Tomahawk was the first chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. He also was a government policeman involved in the killing of Sitting Bull.

Documents show the agency took complaints from Deborah Gaudet of New Mexico in 2015. Gaudet has called Red Tomahawk "merely an agent of a genocidal federal policy" for his role in the killing of Sitting Bull.