Across the country, left-wingers are demanding that politically-incorrect statues be taken down and buildings and landmarks be renamed. Here in Minnesota, the most notorious such instance is Lake Calhoun, the largest of the famous chain of lakes in Minneapolis. Hardly anyone knew it until a few years ago, when leftists began agitating, but the lake was named in the early 19th Century after then-Secretary of War John C. Calhoun. We have written about the controversy several times, e.g., here and here.
The leftists were successful: Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources renamed Lake Calhoun Bde Maka Ska. How do you pronounce that? I have no idea. A friend emailed:
I was in Barnes and Noble where there was a display of books for Bde Maka Ska, like a beach read. A lady asked a clerk, “How do you pronounce that?” The clerk said, “Calhoun.”
But the DNR pressed on, removing all of the signs around the lake and replacing them with “Bde Maka Ska” signs. Meanwhile, a group of neighbors sued. Earlier today, Minnesota’s Court of Appeals ruled unanimously that the DNR acted illegally. Under Minnesota law, after 40 years only the legislature can change the name of a lake. Which won’t happen.
One of the interesting things about the Lake Calhoun controversy is that, unlike statues in formerly Confederate states, no one imagines that Minnesotans ever favored slavery. On the contrary, Minnesota joined the Union just in time to contribute heroically to the Union cause in the Civil War, and contributed the first volunteers to the Union army.
More on today’s decision by my colleague Tom Steward at the American Experiment web site.