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Historic Fort Snelling is now a 'National Treasure' – and has a new name

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Historic Fort Snelling is a "National Treasure," according to its new designation.

Fort Snelling is now part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "National Treasures" campaign, officials announced Wednesday. It's the first National Treasure site in Minnesota.

The site also has a new name: "Bdote Fort Snelling."

Bdote is a word significant to the Dakota people, meaning the place where two waters come together, according to the Minnesota Historical Society. The fort is located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers – and is also sacred to the Dakota, the society notes.

But the Star Tribune says the new designation doesn't change the name of the state park or national historic landmark.

Fort Snelling's history

Fort Snelling was Minnesota's first National Historic Landmark. It was originally a frontier outpost, and the fort and surrounding buildings were then used for military training from the Civil War through World War II, according to the Minnesota Historical Society.

“Bdote Fort Snelling connects us to and helps us tell the story of several chapters of history in North America,” Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in the release. “From the first humans who walked this area thousands of years ago, to the military families who called this place home until just a few decades ago, this sacred site helps us understand the breadth of human experience in North America.”

The National Trust for Historic Places is a nonprofit that works to help save historic places in the United States. Through the National Treasure designation, the organization takes action to raise funds and help save historic sites.

There has been a push to revitalize Fort Snelling. Last month, the Minnesota Historical Society asked the state legislature for $34 million to fund a "much-needed" revamp of the fort ahead of its bicentennial in 2020.

The money would go to fixing up the visitor center and improving outdoor spaces.

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MNHS to consider a new name for Historic Fort Snelling

Any final decision would be up to the state legislature.