By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The city’s biggest lake is a step closer to losing its name.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted unanimously Wednesday evening to approve changing the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.

The off-and-on conversation gained steam in 2015 after a mass shooting at an African-American church in South Carolina.

Lake Calhoun is named after John Calhoun, a proponent of slavery who helped build Fort Snelling in Minnesota. .

But what exactly does the city’s vote mean?

First off, it does not mean Lake Calhoun is no longer Lake Calhoun.

There are several more layers of government that would have to approve the rename.

But supporters say it’s a first step, and an important one.

The lake’s native Dakota name is Bde Maka Ska. Park Commissioner Brad Bourn is trying to get it restored.

“Changing or restoring the indigenous name and removing that scar doesn’t hurt anybody, and it makes multiple segments of our community come together,” he said.

He added that the name Calhoun represents slavery and doesn’t represent Minneapolis.

Former Parks Superintendent Mary Merrill agrees.

“It’s just such an insulting thing to have this beautiful view named for someone who really was a slave holder, believed in slavery, fought for it,” she said.

However, not everyone see things the same way.

Some lake-goers on Wednesday said they object to “running away” from state history, which has lessons to teach. Others said they had no idea who John Calhoun was and the name change seems pointless.

“I don’t see it as relevant,” one lake-goer said. “I think it’s just cosmetic attempts to make things better and I think there’s just real, concrete things we could probably do.”

Although this conversation on the lake’s name is hot right now, it’s been going on for years.

People from the Dakota nation say the name should be as it was before they were pushed out.

Comments (8)
  1. Makes multiple segments of our community come together.. yeah we’ve heard stuff like this before. This is likely to create more division because it’s one side pushing their will on top of others which only creates resentment which is in part why our nation is so divided as it is. We just keep driving people more and more apart in reality.

  2. Jeff Mannino says:

    Will always be lake calhoun cause that name is dumb it isn’t that natively.. Natively its calhoun to myself and anyone else who has known that lake more political correct bs from the minneapolis leftists. Luckily minneapolis will be its own downfall.

  3. What a complete waste of time and money! Resources that could’ve been used to actually help somebody!

  4. You idiots on the park and recreation board are all complete morons.To re-name a lake because of some unsavory history that was accepted 200 years ago is idiotic. Now you choose to re-name it some obscure indian name that no one knows how to pronounce is insane. How about re-naming it sucka-my- coca…morons.LUANCY Mike Ellis

  5. I’m so sick of these idiots. Lake names should be left up to the legislature, not some group of fascist liberals. So sick of this sht. Fake outrage. No one cares. It’s nothing more than a power trip and warning that they will go further if they are not stopped. Cut their funding to $0.

  6. Tim Neumann says:

    Change the name of Saint Paul because it evokes a religious sentiment, how about Austin, because he fought Mexicans. What is next for these liberal touchy feely morons? A total waste of taxpayer resources.

  7. Okay, you want to spend hoards of money (new signage, etc) to right a historical wrong, I can support that. I don’t really care for Auschwitz as a name of a place, but if you change it, it disappears and I don’t think I want that lesson to disappear. That being said, what I would really like to know is: how do you pronounce that and how do you make sure that all the TV and Radio personalities pronounce it the same way? They don’t even say Pnom Penn the same way and we are talking 45 plus years for them to get that one right. I forsee a bunch of us dumb WASPs reverting to “You know, the lake we used to call Lake Calhoun….”

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