The city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, can be seen in the background of Bde Maka Ska, or White Earth Lake. Photo: Wendy Berry

Lake named for advocate of tribal removal changed to 'Bde Maka Ska'

The largest lake in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is now being recognized by its original Native name.

"Bde Maka Ska" means White Earth Lake in the Dakota language. The change was announced by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources on Thursday.

“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 Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in a press release.

The lake was previously named for former Secretary of War John C. Calhoun, who was the architect of the first Indian removal in the 1820s. Tribal citizens and their supporters pushed officials to eliminate the connection to a negative historical figure.

“Restoring the name Bde Maka Ska will start conversations and educational experiences about our history and the first Indigenous people of Minnesota," State Rep. Jim Davnie (D) said in a press release. "The Department of Natural Resources did the right thing, and they have helped us grow a deeper appreciation for the vibrant Native American Indian communities that still exist in Minneapolis and throughout the state. We can all be proud of this decision.”

The change will be sent to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, a federal body, which or may not accept it, The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Read More on the Story:
The state officially changes Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska (The Minneapolis Star Tribune January 19, 2018)
Minn. DNR says changing name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to become official (The Duluth News Tribune January 18, 2018)
Official: Lake Calhoun to be renamed Bde Maka Ska (KARE January 18, 2018)
DNR approves renaming Minneapolis’ Lake Calhoun, but opponents plan court fight (The Associated Press January 18, 2018)

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Lake named for war secretary who pushed for removal of tribes (September 1, 2015)