Court upholds move to restore Minnesota lake's Dakota name

The Associated Press

A state agency didn't overstep its authority when it changed the name of a popular lake back to its original name, Bde Maka Ska, the Minnesota Supreme Court says

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A divided Minnesota Supreme Court said Wednesday a state agency has the authority to change the name of a popular lake back to its original Dakota name.  

The state Court of Appeals ruled in April that the Department of Natural Resources overstepped its authority in January 2018 when it restored the name Bde Maka Ska. It said authority to change the name of Lake Calhoun rested with the Legislature under statutes governing lake and other place names. 

Justice David Lillehaug, writing for the majority of five justices, said the Department of Natural Resources commissioner has the statutory authority to change the name.  

(Photo by Aliyah Chavez, Indian Country Today)

Chief Justice Lorie Gildea wrote on behalf of her and Justice G. Barry Anderson in dissent and said the decision gives "unbounded power" to the Department of Natural Resources to change the name of every lake in Minnesota at any time.  

Save Lake Calhoun attorney Erick Kaardal had argued the Legislature enacted a policy that says lake names that have been used more than 40 years cannot be changed without lawmakers granting additional authority.

Hennepin County asked the Department of Natural Resources for the change because Lake Calhoun was named for pro-slavery former Vice President John Calhoun. But some nearby property owners challenged it.

Comments (6)
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it is ⌛.


Joe Bendickson, and all like him who work to preserve Native languages, are cultural treasures. I love the way he pronounces "Dakota."

One problem the PBS interviewer didn't raise is that while the full (original Dakota) name of the lake is Bde Maka Ska, there is a danger some may now start calling it Lake Bde Maka Ska. That would be illogical, since "bde" means "lake," according to Bendickson. It would be like "Sahara Desert," because "sahara" already means "desert."


Give it the name it deserves, this lake has been helping ans sustaining the ecosystem there.
-Sam Jewel, residential roofers

Sara Harris
Sara Harris

Consummation a years-in length banter over respecting a protector of servitude, Minnesota's Supreme Court decided 5-2 Wednesday that the official of the state's Department of Natural Resources had power to reestablish the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, as the Dakota individuals call it.


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