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The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that the DNR did not have the authority to approve a new name for Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis. Attorney Erik Kaardal, from Mohrman & Kaardal, brought the case on behalf of a group of residents called “Save Lake Calhoun.”
Kaardal told the Pioneer Press:
“It’s a big and surprising victory so we are really happy,” said Erick Kaardal, the attorney who represented Save Lake Calhoun. “We’re glad that the public official here is being held accountable for violation of the law.” Kaardal went on to say that his group’s primary issue was what it saw as overreach by the DNR commissioner. The group is comprised of homeowners around the lake.
The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, along with Hennepin County, changed the name to “Bde Maka Ska”, apparently the original Dakota Sioux name. This name change was meant to honor the Dakota Sioux but it would not have happened if the city lake was not named after John C. Calhoun.
Absent a successful reversal, the name Calhoun will stay.
According to KSTP News:
The decision came after objections arose to the Lake Calhoun name because of former Vice President John C. Calhoun’s involvement with treaties that removed Native Americans from their land. There were also objections to the fact Calhoun was a slave owner, and a supporter of the practice. However, in its ruling, the court of appeals stated a district court was wrong to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Save Lake Calhoun, a group that has opposed the change. It also found the DNR did not have the authority to change the name.
The Court said:
“We have addressed the merits of the DNR commissioner’s purported authority to change lake names existing for 40 years and found no authority permits this action,” the decision read. “According, we reverse and remand for entry of judgement in favor of Save Lake Calhoun.”
It has been a puzzle to me that Lake Calhoun was named after John C. Calhoun. After all, Minnesota was a hard-core abolitionist state. Besides, the guy looks way too intense, perhaps a bit mad, not very Minnesotan. You cannot imagine him enjoying a stroll around any lake, even one named after him.
I found an explanation about the naming of Lake Calhoun:
According to the Star Tribune and other sources, federal surveyors named the city lake in the early 1800s for Calhoun, who was then secretary of war.
This all happened long before Minnesota became a state in 1858.
So, there you have it. Federal bureaucrats already causing trouble back in the early years of the Republic!
According to Wiki, “Bde Maka Ska (modern spelling Bdé Makhá Ská; English approximation: Be-DAY Mah-KAH-Ska) meaning Lake White Earth, or Lake White Bank, a name that probably was given by the Ioway who inhabited the area until the 16th century.”
Sorry, but the English approximation would not help in this case even if you plastered it all over the signs now gracing entrances to the lake. Even after this flap, no one will think Minnesota endorses Calhoun’s views on native Americans or slavery except people who are angry like that John C. Calhoun.
Let’s knock off with the virtue signaling that divides us and costs a ton of money, and agree that everyone can enjoy this wonderful city treasure as Lake Calhoun.
Oh, but wait, they will have to change the signs back! Imagine if Minneapolis and Hennepin County officials, who apparently do not have enough to do, had spent all the time and money on this fixing damned pot holes instead.
Editor: the Minneapolis Park board is refusing to change the name and pursuing an appeal.
By the way, some really good news: Regents wisely rejected ,by a surprising margin of 10-1, a recommendation by U President Eric Kaler, to rename buildings because of concerns about the views of the (dead, white) men they were named after many years ago. Coffman Union will remain Coffman Union. For now.