Skip to main content

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.

The renaming of Lake Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska was illegal and should revert to its previous name.

That's the finding of the Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday, which found that former Minnesota DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr didn't have the power to change the name of Minneapolis' biggest lake.

In the opinion posted Monday, it says "the commissioner of natural resources lacks authority to change a lake name which has existed for 40 years," finding in favor of the group that objected to the name-change, called "Save Lake Calhoun."

Landwehr ordered the lake should revert to Bde Maka Ska – its Native American name – in January 2018, with the lake having previously been named after John C. Calhoun, whose past support of slavery prompted a renaming campaign in Minneapolis.

The efforts to change the lake's name had originated in the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, which found that it didn't have the authority to change the name on its own, and nor did the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

But the Court of Appeals found that Landwehr didn't have the authority either, despite the name change being recognized by the federal government and the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

The finding by a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals was unanimous that the name change was illegal.

Sign up: Subscribe to our daily newsletters

They found that under state law, only the Minnesota Legislature has the power to change the names of bodies of water in instances where its existing name has been in place for more than 40 years.

The DNR commissioner doesn't have that authority, as it is the legislature that confers powers to the DNR.

The "Save Lake Calhoun" movement had presented a petition on behalf of 318 residents living around the southwest Minneapolis lake, calling for the name of Lake Calhoun to be retained.

You can read the opinion here. It's not clear yet whether this decision will be subject to further challenge.

Next Up

money hundred dollar bills

Chanhassen psychologist pleads guilty to $550K billing fraud

Charles Howard Jorenby, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of healthcare fraud in U.S. District Court late last month.

police lights squad car

Charges: Coon Rapids man had 25 pounds of cocaine from Mexico

Luis Javier Avila-Lopez, 38, was arrested after law enforcement seized the cocaine earlier this year.

Screen Shot 2022-12-04 at 9.16.52 AM

Responding to Twitter release, former Minnesota GOP candidate calls for 'bullets'

It was in response to a thread on Twitter concerning the social media giant's moderation efforts regarding political issues.

snow

NWS: 'Safe to say' more active weather is ahead

Three rounds of light snow around Minnesota before more substantial precipitation becomes a possibility.

7F060B54-5776-4E1A-A42C-F36C22FAF493

Hero dad who stopped carjacker who fled with his kids identified

A GoFundMe has been set up to support Derek Gotchie and his family following the incident.

Screen Shot 2022-12-03 at 4.35.18 PM

Watch: New London-Spicer wins 3A championship on incredible walk-off TD

New London-Spicer defeated the unbeaten Dilworth-Glyndon-Felton in remarkable circumstances.

MoorheadMurderSuspect

Suspect in woman's killing in Moorhead is arrested

James Kollie Jr. was arrested Friday evening.

Jennifer Carnahan

Former chair Jennifer Carnahan sues Minnesota GOP, which is suing her back

Carnahan stepped down under a cloud of controversy in August 2021.

Minneapolis Fire Department

One injured after leaping from burning vacant building in Minneapolis

Authorities say the building is known to be used by squatters.

ambulance

Head-on crash leaves two drivers dead in southeastern Minnesota

The crash happened in Houston County just before 4 p.m. Friday.

Related

Lake Calhoun

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

The Court of Appeals has ruled the name change illegal.

1024px-32nd_Street_Beach_-_Lake_Calhoun_-_Bde_Maka_Ska,_Minneapolis_(34846694316)

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

The Supreme Court rejected a challenge brought by local homeowners.

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.

bike trail at Lake Calhoun Park Bde Maka Ska 2015 flickr

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

A vote will be held at a committee meeting Wednesday.

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.

Lake Calhoun now federally recognized as Bde Maka Ska

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

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 efforts by the Parks and Rec Board to promote social distancing.