MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The battle over the name of a popular Minneapolis lake is now going to the streets.

The Minneapolis Park Board already changed the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska — and that new name could move to its surrounding neighborhood, too.

While the name of this metro lake hangs in limbo, the Minneapolis Park Board’s Administration and Finance Committee approved a measure Wednesday evening to rename parkland, parkways and roads with the “Calhoun” name.

The park board is accepting comments online here until July 1, and information on ordinance code can be found on their website.

Signs around the lake, even GPS, calls the lake Bde Maka Ska. The name of the lake itself is still caught in a legal battle, but the process to change the surrounding streets is different.

“We don’t have full control over the names of the lake, but we do have full control of the names of the streets that surround the lake,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner Londel French.

(credit: CBS)

French is introducing a proposal to change the names of four lakeside streets from “Calhoun” to “Bde Maka Ska.”

“We want to make sure that folks understand that we want to restore the name to what it used to be,” French said.

Commissioner French says the association with John C. Calhoun is also problematic.

“He’s just not a guy that I think the park board should be honoring and giving the legacy to by having us walk down the streets named after this guy,” French said.

Not everyone is on board with the changes. Save Lake Calhoun Chairman Tom Austin says most of the homeowners on the lake did not support a name change when asked in this 2017 petition.

READ MORE: Residents File Suit To Block Lake Calhoun Name Change

Ultimately, the park board will decide the fate of these street signs.

“Change is hard for some folks, but we got to do it, right?” French said.

The board will need to vote three times and allow a 45-day public comment period before they can changing parkland and street names. The name switch will go before the park board in early June.

(credit: CBS)

About 20 people spoke in support of the change during Wednesday’s public comment period.

“His name belongs in the middle of a history book,” said John Rohrer, a Minneapolis resident.

Rohrer claims to be a descendant of Calhoun through his mother’s side, and felt compelled to come forward.

“Right now, it feels like my job to come forward and talk about it because he did so many horrible things,” Rohrer said.

No one spoke against the proposal publicly at the meeting, but everyone is not on board with the street switch.

“When I think of this area, this lake, I think of Lake Calhoun. I don’t think of Calhoun as the person that it was named after, I think of what it is called,” said Minneapolis resident Betsey Stoneking.

This all comes as the act of renaming of the lake is under fire. The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled last month that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources didn’t have the authority to do so.

The DNR plans to appeal that decision, further fanning the flames of this debate.

Comments (10)
  1. CTTV15@Hotmail.com says:

    This is what happens when people have too much time on their hands, and OUR money to waste..

  2. Virgil Anders says:

    The stupidity continues, everything else in the city must be in perfect shape.

  3. Virgil Anders says:

    Washington Avenue must be renamed immediately for George Washington owned slaves his entire life and at one time owned eighty four of them. Just another project since a few folks are busy rewriting history to their liking.

  4. Tim Neumann says:

    Minneapolis should be renamed to whatever Dakota name the land had before the whites invaded, along with the rest of the state’s indigenous peoples. Maybe we should just rewrite history to placate all the non thinking morons who believe there were no atrocities committed by those who claimed the land first. Any town that has the word Saint should be renamed because the church has a pattern of abuse. What next?

    1. Christian Thorvaldsen says:

      Go ahead and lead the charge then

  5. The MN Constitution says specifically the Park Board doesn’t have the power to change the lake ans street name.

    It’s just fake news pretending it’s OK

  6. John Drong says:

    What ridiculous waste of time and tax payer money! Up until recently who knew who the lake or streets were named after, and what kind of person he or she was? Calhoun apparently never did anything good, he must have been an earlier version of Hitler? Who took the time to dig up this bit of forgotten history. We should not forget our past mistakes but, none of us living now committed them nor was of victim of those “crimes”. If this is ever solved, the same people will just find another offensive name of a lake, street, town, county, etc.. No wonder we need higher taxes to pay for what we need now.

  7. Montessahall Montessahall says:

    Would people who support the lake keeping the current name be okay with a lake named “hitler”? If not, what is the difference?

  8. Bonnie Otto says:

    What is the full ask for the name change? Taking the lake back? Teaching people a lesson? I watched the video. It is very powerful that a dependent of Calhoun does not share the same view. It is reflective of how much has changed. History cannot be changed. The future is what we make of it in collaboration with one another. If it can’t be recognized that the thoughts and teachings from a descendant has not held, what is going to satisfy people in change?

    I think that is more the question than anything. What is the goal here? To pay back the tribes in change like this to compensate guilt for the past? If that is the case, therapy may work better. However, if people are going to live amongst each other, they need to find solutions together that will be justice. Fair. That is a middle ground for both sides. Not just swinging a pendulum. That is not justice. That is not fair. What is fair is representatives from BOTH communities coming together and finding a middle ground together. Not forcing change. That is nothing but repeating history and looks more like revenge than it does recovery.