Minnesota Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday on Lake Calhoun name change

The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday involving the controversial name change of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. 

The case centers on whether the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had the power to change the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, which means “white earth lake.”  

The name dispute all began when Hennepin County asked the DNR for the change because Lake Calhoun was named after former Vice President John Calhoun, who also authored the Indian Removal Act. 

In April, the state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of a group called “Save Lake Calhoun.” In its decision, the court said only the state Legislature, not the DNR, had the power to authorize changes involving lakes and other place names. 

Now, the state Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether the DNR overstepped its authority when it approved the name change. 

For residents and local activists, this has been highly charged issue with strong emotions on both sides. Property owners near the lake challenged the change.

While the process continued to move forward, opponents have continued to fight it out in the courts. 

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board already changed the signs at the popular lake and replaced the street signs that included Calhoun. 

Oral arguments begin at 9 a.m. There is no timeline of when the court will issue its final decision.