President of Minneapolis Parks and Rec Says Lake Calhoun Residents Live on ‘Stolen Dakota Land’


President of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Brad Bourn recently said that homeowners on Lake Calhoun are living “on stolen Dakota land.”

The comments were made in the midst of an ongoing legal battle over the name of the popular Minneapolis lake. In January 2018, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources approved of renaming the lake to Bde Maka Ska, its original Dakota name.

But an April 29 ruling from the Minnesota Court of Appeals found that the DNR “exceeded its authority” in renaming the lake. Renaming privileges, the ruling stated, are reserved for the State Legislature in cases when a name has been in use for 40 or more years.

The DNR later announced that it would petition the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Despite the ruling, Bourn claimed that the lake will continue to be called Bde Maka Ska “for generations to come.”

“The most beautiful lake in Minneapolis has been called Bde Maka Ska for generations before white settlers stole it from the Dakota,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “While it saddens me that 318 property ‘owners’ on stolen Dakota land around Bde Maka Ska calling themselves ‘Save Lake Calhoun’ have prevailed at this stage, I know that we’re standing on the right side of history and that its arc bends towards justice.”

He concluded his statement by saying that “as president of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board,” he has “no intention of spending any public resources honoring Vice President John C. Calhoun’s blood soaked legacy of systemic violence against all our communities.”

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said he will “continue to call Bde Maka Ska by its rightful name.”

“That was the lake’s name before people who look like me renamed it to honor a slavery apologist and—as far as I’m concerned—that is still its name today,” he said.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of Battleground State News, The Ohio Star, and The Minnesota Sun. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photos by Brad Bourn








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