Minneapolis park board president says lake still Bde Maka Ska, signs to remain same

The president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board says they will not be changing the signs around Bde Maka Ska back to Lake Calhoun despite a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling that said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did not have the authority to rename the lake.

In January 2018, the DNR gave final approval to change the name of Lake Calhoun back to its Dakota name, but a group called Save Lake Calhoun opposed the change and filed a lawsuit against the state. 

They lost, but appealed the decision. On Monday, an appellate court judge ruled in favor of Save Lake Calhoun, sending the case back to the lower courts and leading many to believe the lake’s name is now back to Lake Calhoun. 

The park board appears to disagree. 

“The most beautiful lake in Minneapolis has been called Bde Maka Ska for generations before white settlers stole it from the Dakota,” MPRB President Brad Bourn said. “It will continue to be Bde Maka Ska for generations to come.”

Bourn also said the park board has no plans to change the signage around the lake. 

“I have no intention of spending any public resources honoring Vice President John C. Calhoun's blood-soaked legacy of systemic violence against all our communities,” Bourn said. 

The park board is encouraging the DNR to appeal the ruling, according to a spokesperson. The DNR is considering its options and has 30 days to submit a petition.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said despite the ruling, the lake will always be its native name to him.

“I personally am going to continue calling Bde Maka Ska by its rightful name, which is Bde Maka Ska. That was its name long before people who looked like me decided to change it to the name of someone who was an apologist for slavery, so that's what I think we should continue to call it," he said.

Full statement from MPRB President