Posted on August 23, 2019

Minneapolis Park Board Renames Calhoun Parkways after Bde Maka Ska

Miguel Otárola, Star Tribune, August 22, 2019

Workers installed new placards on the roads ringing Bde Maka Ska/Lake Calhoun Thursday morning the day after the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted to rename four parkways with the original Dakota name.

Park Board commissioners, who voted 7-2 to make the change, said it was a small step to undo the presence of the lake’s namesake, John C. Calhoun — the politician who advocated for slavery and the removal of American Indians from their lands in the early 19th century — and teach people about the land’s indigenous history.

Carly Bad Heart Bull, a descendant of a village leader on the lake and a leading advocate for the Dakota name, praised the decision during Wednesday’s Park Board meeting.


As a result of Wednesday’s vote, West Calhoun Boulevard, Calhoun Drive and East and West Lake Calhoun parkways will now be named West Bde Maka Ska Boulevard, Bde Maka Ska Drive and East and West Bde Maka Ska parkways.

Crews installed new placards for East and West Bde Mka Ska Parkways on Thursday morning, and green street signs will be changed by the city at a later date.


Most of the vocal opposition against the name change came from residents who live on the four parkways.


On Wednesday, Park Board President Brad Bourn said scrubbing Calhoun’s name from the roads was “the least we can do, and it’s such a small ask.”


The Park Board’s decision to rename the roads surrounding the lake comes as the official name of the lake itself remains in limbo. After the state Court of Appeals ruled that a former DNR commissioner lacked the authority to rename the lake, the agency appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court. The case is now in the briefing stage.


Correction: Previous versions of this article misspelled Bde Maka Ska

[Editor’s Note: The “correction”notice above appeared in the original story.]