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Official: Lake Calhoun to be renamed Bde Maka Ska

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved the new name on Thursday.

MINNEAPOLIS - Lake Calhoun will soon be called Bde Maka Ska.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved the new name on Thursday, following months of debate for and against the change. State approval was the final step in the change. Bde Maka Ska will be the official name once it is recorded by Hennepin County and published in the State Register.

“The DNR respects the role of elected county boards in determining name changes for geographic features,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said. “In this instance, I am confident the Hennepin County Board carefully considered community values and citizen perspectives in determining that this was the right action to take. DNR’s role is to ensure the county followed the proper process.”

Lake Calhoun was named in the 1800s after former vice president, senator and outspoken slavery supporter John Calhoun. The name Bde Maka Ska means White Earth Lake in the Dakota language.

Some Minneapolis residents opposed the change as an unnecessary rewrite of history.

The Minnesota DNR will submit the county and state approvals onto the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which will approve or deny the name change for federal use.

A copy of the DNR’s order and details on how Minnesota geographic features are named are available here.

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