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

May 21, 2019 11:56 AM

A Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board member says he intends to introduce an ordinance to change the name of Lake Calhoun Parkway to Bde Maka Ska Parkway. 

"It probably should have been done (at) the same time the name of the lake was changed," said Park Board Commissioner Londel French in an interview with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. "We're trying to repair wrongs that have been done in the past."

French said he believes it's time to rename the parkways for consistency sake.

The move comes after an appeals court decision ruled the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources did not have the authority to rename Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska, the lakes original Dakota name. 

The name of the lake was officially changed in early 2018 after the DNR approved the results of earlier votes by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners.

The decision to change the name 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.

More from KSTP: 

DNR to appeal court's ruling about naming of Bde Maka Ska

DFL-controlled House approves amendment making Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska name change permanent

Minneapolis Park and Rec. Board president responds to ruling on Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska name change

Since the appeals court decision was made, The DFL-controlled Minnesota House of Representatives amended the Omnibus Environment and Natural Resources bill to make permanent the changing of the name of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.

The DNR also announced it will appeal the court's decision.

French said he plans to introduce the change to the ordinance during the Park Board meeting on May 15. The proposal could take several months to reach a final vote.

So far, he said the feedback has been mostly positive, but that some people are unhappy with the plan.

"There's been a couple emails and phone calls I've had with folks who are not happy about the name change," French said.

Tom Austin, a member of the "Save Lake Calhoun" group who sued the DNR, said in a statement he believes the Park Board is "inflaming" the situation.

"Why isn't the Minneapolis Park Board pursuing a name for the parkway that is more neutral, more pronounceable, and more widely embraced?" Austin's statement said. " The vast majority of homeowners on Lake Calhoun are in disbelief and disappointed by the ongoing trend to rename everything in the name of extreme political correctness."

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