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Park Board votes to change name of Calhoun Parkway to Bde Maka Ska Parkway

Updated: August 22, 2019 09:55 AM

The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board voted Wednesday night to change the name of four streets in south Minneapolis.

Calhoun Boulevard West, Calhoun Drive, East Lake Calhoun Parkway and West Lake Calhoun Parkway will all lose the Calhoun name. It will be replaced by Bde Maka Ska.

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The board passed the name change by a 7-2 vote.

Vote on changing Calhoun Parkway to Bde Maka Ska Parkway expected Wednesday

"To ask me, as a black man, to keep a name with somebody as despicable as John C. Calhoun, is disgusting,” said Londel French, a Park Board commissioner.

Park board member intends to introduce ordinance to change name of Lake Calhoun Parkway to Bde Maka Ska Parkway

In the midst of a debate over renaming Bde Maka Ska, also known as Lake Calhoun, some said it was time to change the names of the streets that surround the lake to match.

The Calhoun name has been controversial because of former Vice President John Calhoun's involvement with treaties that removed Native Americans from their land. He was also a slave owner.

"Our indigenous and African American youth should not have to walk down streets with names that celebrate people who pushed for the subjugation of and violence against the bodies of their ancestors,” said Carly Bad Heart Bull, who supported the name change.

Others at the meeting opposed the change.

“Your role as commissioners is to protect the Park Board and its assets,” Arlene Freed said. “It is not a role to harm the Park Board, which you are doing when you remove the long standing name Calhoun from both the lakes and the parkways"

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