MN Supreme Court: DNR had right to rename Lake Calhoun as Bde Maka Ska

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge brought by local homeowners.

The Minnesota DNR Commissioner had the authority to rename Lake Calhoun as Bde Maka Ska, the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled.

The majority opinion was issued by the Supreme Court on Wednesday, which follows a legal challenge from Save Lake Calhoun, which comprised a number of homeowners who live on the lake, after the lake was changed to its original, Lakota name in 2018.

Then-DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr approved the name change, but opponents had argued that he didn't have authority to rename lakes or other bodies of water when their names have existed for more than 40 years.

The majority of the Supreme Court justices disagreed, saying this prevents county boards changing names, not the commissioner.

Justice David L. Lillehaug, writing an affirming opinion, found that the DNR Commissioner "has statutory authority to change the names of Minnesota lakes, including those with names existing for 40 years or more."

"Under Minnesota law, the body of water that was Lake Calhoun is now Bde Maka Ska."

Writing a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said that the Legislature had not intended for the DNR Commissioner to have such power over lake names.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

"Under today’s decision, if the DNR desires to change the names of Lake Vermilion, Lake Minnetonka, Lake of the Woods, Gull Lake, etc., it can do so without any input from the communities where these lakes are located," she wrote.

"This decision should upset and unsettle every Minnesotan and most especially those who live in a community with a lake."

It should be noted that the decision to rename Lake Calhoun followed a grassroots campaign in Minneapolis that was backed by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation board and the city council.

Opponents to the name change claimed the lake was the victim of "extremist name-change advocacy" relating to John C. Calhoun, who was instrumental in the founding of Fort Snelling but was a notable defender of slavery.

The name Bde Maka Ska has already been recognized by the federal government. It was the lake's name at the state level that was the subject of the challenge.

Next Up

smoke, hazy sky, wildfire smoke

Hazy conditions may lift temporarily, but smoke will keep coming for MN

Drifting smoke "will likely remain with us for a while," one group warned.

Pixabay - covid face mask bicycle bike

Number of MN counties with high, substantial COVID transmission hits 64

Nine days ago, 14 counties passed that threshold. We're now up to 64.

rowdi billboard

Six months on, devoted family not giving up search to find missing Rowdi

Rowdi went missing on the North Shore in February, but Cory Carlson has hope Rowdi is still alive.

Pixabay - hospital emergency room sign

Woman suffers fractured neck, leg after driver blows through stop sign

The crash happened early Thursday about 20 miles outside of Detroit Lakes.

suni lee

Watch: Suni Lee reunites with family after winning 3 Olympic medals

Suni said she wouldn't be where he is today without her family.

Julie blaha and melisa franzen

Blaha, Franzen reveal extent of injuries suffered in crash

The state auditor and state senator were driving home from FarmFest.

covid vaccine card

More than 11K Minnesotans signed up for $100 COVID incentive on Day 1

The new vaccination rewards program opened on Wednesday, and it has proven quite popular among the newly vaccinated.

jeremy jones richardson - pine county

Charges: Man broke into friend's home, killed him with his cane

Pieces of the victim's cane were found on his back, charges say.

Awwal Adebayo Ladipo Go Fund Me hospital

Charges: Fatal punch after fight led to fractured skull, brain bleed

The victim, a 25-year-old St. Cloud State grad, died two days later.

Pixabay - school - classroom

Minneapolis Public Schools to require face masks for staff, students

The rule goes into effect Monday, and will continue at the start of the new school year.


Lake Calhoun

DNR to appeal ruling on Bde Maka Ska–Calhoun name change

The Court of Appeals has ruled the name change illegal.

Court of Appeals rules Lake Calhoun-Bde Maka Ska name change illegal

It says the DNR commissioner didn't have the power to change the name.

bike trail at Lake Calhoun Park Bde Maka Ska 2015 flickr

Calhoun streets, park set to be renamed as Bde Maka Ska

A Mpls. Park Board committee is taking up the proposal Wednesday.

bike trail at Lake Calhoun Park Bde Maka Ska 2015 flickr

Guess what the new name of Lake Calhoun Park is...

It's been renamed Bde Maka Ska Park by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

Lake Calhoun now federally recognized as Bde Maka Ska

It's now official at the State and federal levels.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.59.02 AM

The 'Save Lake Calhoun' website now has a very different message

It comes a day after a court ruled its name change was illegal.

Screen Shot 2020-04-16 at 10.46.52 AM

More of Bde Maka Ska Parkway to close to traffic, Lake Harriet to re-open

It's the latest effort by the Parks and Rec Board to promote social distancing.