The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources today announced the State of Minnesota has approved changing the name of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis to Bde Maka Ska. The DNR’s decision follows a Hennepin County Board resolution requesting the change.
“The DNR respects the role of elected county boards in determining name changes for geographic features,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said. “In this instance, I am confident the Hennepin County Board carefully considered community values and citizen perspectives in determining that this was the right action to take. The DNR’s role is to ensure the county followed the proper process.”
The DNR’s decision means the lake name change will become official in Minnesota when the DNR’s approval is officially recorded by Hennepin County and published in the State Register. Hennepin County commissioners voted to seek the name change Nov. 28. The DNR will submit the Hennepin County resolution along with the state approval, to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which will approve or deny the name change for federal use. The DNR is the state agency that approves or denies name changes for geographic features, after Minnesota counties consider name change resolutions, gather public input, and vote on proposed changes.
In considering county requests to name a geographic feature or change a feature’s name, the DNR’s role is to consider 1) whether the county followed a proper public process prior to taking its action, and 2) whether the county-approved name complies with naming conventions. For example, names must avoid confusion with similarly named features, and names may not commemorate a living person. A copy of the DNR’s order for this name change and details on how Minnesota geographic features are named are available on the naming geographic features webpage.