Lake Calhoun is another step closer to not existing.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved changing the popular lake's name back to its original Dakota name – Bde Maka Ska (it's pronounced “b-day ma-kha skah") – after being called Lake Calhoun for nearly 200 years.
This comes after years of efforts to change the name back to Bde Maka Ska, which means "white earth lake" in Dakota. Supporters of the original name want the change because the lake's namesake, John C. Calhoun, was a supporter of slavery and the Indian Removal Act.
In October 2015, the park board added Bde Maka Ska to the signs around Lake Calhoun, but the Calhoun name remained. Now, the board is advocating nixing Calhoun altogether – and Wednesday's vote is the first step in the process.
"Shots of the Civil War are still being fired today. Shots of the Dakota War are still being fired today," Commissioner Brad Bourn, according to MPR News. "And this is one of the best things we can do to start healing some of those wounds that are more than 150 years old in our history."
The Star Tribune spoke to several people who say even if the lake's name does get changed, it'll take a while before people stop calling it Lake Calhoun.
The next steps
Because the board doesn't have the authority to officially change the lake's name, it needs to also be approved by Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the park board says.
After that happens, the U.S. Board on Geographic Names has to give it final approval.
If it gets final approval, the names of nearby roads that also bear the name Calhoun will not be changed for public safety reasons, the park board says.
Changing the name of Lake Calhoun is part of the park board's Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska-Harriet Master Plan – the 25-year vision for the lakes and surrounding parkland – which was approved Wednesday.