The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the March 26, 2016 issue of the Star Tribune.
Lakes Panel Urges Restoring Bde Maka Ska Name for Lake Calhoun
An advisory group on Tuesday overwhelmingly urged the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to support restoring the name of Lake Calhoun to the Dakota Bde Maka Ska.
The 15-4 vote ratifies an informal position the group advising the board on Calhoun-Harriet renovations took last fall in favor of the name restoration. The appointed group urged the board to advocate for the name restoration with other government bodies that would play a role.
The proposal to delete Calhoun’s name originally arose from the 19th century politician’s outspoken advocacy for slavery in the American south. But native American activists added momentum to the push, citing Calhoun’s policy of forced relocation of southeastern tribes. They say the issue is restoring a Dakota name in use when whites arrived in the area.
The proposal has aroused widespread debate. Opponents of changing a long-used name argue that applying present-day attitudes to historical figures is a slippery slope. They also contend that the Dakota name is hard to pronounce.
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