Minnesota DNR approves changing Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska

- Only one hurdle now stands in the way of permanently changing the name of Lake Calhoun to its Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. 

On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved the name change, making it official in the state. The resolution now goes to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which will approve or deny the name change for federal use. 

The DNR’s decision follows a Hennepin County Board resolution requesting the name change, which was approved in November. In making their decision, they had to consider whether the county followed a proper public process and whether the name complies with naming conventions. 

“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. 

Signs around the lake already include Bde Maka Ska, which means “white earth lake.” They were changed last year after the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board unanimously voted to use the lake’s original name.  

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