DNR statement on Minnesota Supreme Court decision

May 13, 2020

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is pleased that the Minnesota Supreme Court has concluded that we acted within our statutory authority in renaming Lake Calhoun as Bde Maka Ska.

The Court affirmed the DNR’s long-standing exercise of its authority to work with local governments on the renaming of waterbodies and other geographic features. We welcome this decision, as it is important that the state and local governments be able to work together to address confusing, unsettled, or derogatory names.

 In this instance, the Hennepin County Board fully considered a wide range of public input and made a reasonable determination.

The DNR’s job was to evaluate whether the Board followed procedural requirements and whether Bde Maka Ska met state naming conventions. We concluded “yes” on both counts and approved the renaming. With today’s decision from the Minnesota Supreme Court, “under Minnesota law, the body of water that was Lake Calhoun is now Bde Maka Ska.”