MN Historical Society facing deep budget cuts over Fort Snelling signs

Some Senate Republicans are calling the new signage "revisionist history."
Publish date:

A change to the welcome signs at Fort Snelling has ignited a political controversy that could take a serious toll on the finances of the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS).

In 2017, the society added "at Bdote" — the Dakota word for the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers at the historic site — to some of the signage to reflect local Native American history. 

The signs now read "Historic Fort Snelling at Bdote," as you can see in the tweet below:

In response, the Republican-controlled state Senate on Thursday passed a budget bill amendment to cut funding to MNHS by $4 million a year, which could mean 53 to 80 layoffs at the organization, the Pioneer Press reports. 

The paper says the amendment's authors, including state Sen. Mary Kiffmeyer (R-Big Lake), are calling the signage change an example of "revisionist history."

As the Star Tribune notes, such a funding cut would be "hollowing out" MNHS's $11 operating budget.

However, that change is not yet written in stone, with KARE 11 reporting that the DFL-controlled House plans to fully fund the organization for the next two years.

The station says this means the issue will likely be resolved in talks between the Senate and the House "in the closing days of the legislative session."

For its part, MNHS issued a statement on social media on Friday, offering some "clarity" on its controversial decision:

Next Up