Hennepin Co. Board to hear from public on Lake Calhoun name change

Lake Calhoun is getting closer to officially being renamed Bde Maka Ska, the lake’s Dakota name.

The 400-acre lake is named after John C. Calhoun, the vice president and secretary of war who authorized the building of Fort Snelling in the early 1800s. He was also a slave owner and author of the Indian Removal Act. The controversial history of the lake’s namesake is the reason many are pushing to no longer honor him and bring the lake back to its Native American roots.

In May, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board unanimously agreed to use the lake’s original name, Bde Maka Ska, which means “white earth lake.” The signs were updated in 2015 to add the Dakota name.

But, the park board does not have the authority to officially change the lake’s name. The issue will go before the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday evening – the next step in making a name change official.

But even if the county board approves the plan, dropping the name from one of Minneapolis’ most popular lakes would also require approval from state and federal officials.

If you would like to weigh in, the Hennepin County Board will hear comments from the public at 6 p.m. at the Government Center in downtown Minneapolis. Written comments can also be submitted to board.clerk@hennepin.us before the end of the public hearing.