Renaming of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska has been approved by the State of Minnesota

Minneapolis' biggest lake has undergone a name change.

What's happened?

Lake Calhoun's renaming to Bde Maka Ska, its original Dakota name, was approved by the State of Minnesota on Thursday.

The Minnesota DNR announced the decision, which followed a resolution by the Hennepin County Board requesting the name change.

So it's official then?

At the state level, yes. At federal level? Not quite.

The lake's name change will become official in Minnesota when it's recorded by Hennepin County and published in the State Register

BUT, the DNR then needs to submit Hennepin County's resolution and the state's approval to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

This national organization will then have to approve or deny the name change for federal use.

Why have they done this again?

The movement to revert Calhoun's name back to the Dakota translation follows a reassessment of the man it was named after: the former vice president, senator and slavery support John Calhoun.

But it's not been without controversy. There have been efforts to block the move, including via a lawsuit by some local residents issued last week that claimed the Hennepin County Board violated statutes when approving the name change.

However, the DNR found that the county board had followed the required legal processes and public consultation requirements before making its recommendation to the state.

There was broad support for the name change at a public hearing this past October.

How do you pronounce Bde Maka Ska?

Listen to this soundbite courtesy of MPR.

But most people will still call it Calhoun, right?

Probably, for now. The name's been around for 200 years and it rolls off the tongue more easily.

But who knows, if signage around the lake and maps change then future generations could well come to commonly refer to it as Bde Maka Ska.

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