‘Minnesotans no longer celebrate slavery and genocide’: AG Ellison hails Supreme Court decision upholding Bde Maka Ska name
‘We now have a sure way to reflect our values today and to pass along the state we want our children to inherit tomorrow’
May 13, 2020 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today issued the following statement about today’s Minnesota Supreme Court opinion that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources had the authority to rename as Bde Maka Ska the Minneapolis lake formerly known as Lake Calhoun. Attorney General Ellison’s office represented the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
“If we want our future to be different than our past, we have to reckon with our history head-on. For some people, the name ‘Lake Calhoun’ was familiar and beloved. For a growing number of others — most notably African Americans and the Dakota people on whose ancestral land Minneapolis now sits — the name ‘Lake Calhoun’ celebrated a 19th-century slaveholder who defended slavery as a ‘positive good.’ It celebrated one of the architects of America’s Indian removal policies who authorized the construction of the first U.S. military outpost in Minnesota, which was later used as a concentration camp for Dakota people.
“In the 21st century, our values are different: Minnesotans no longer celebrate slavery and genocide. The people of Minneapolis and the DNR commissioner chose to remove Calhoun’s name from the lake to alleviate the pain of that history and celebrate instead the dignity of those who originally named the lake.
“I’m very pleased that the Supreme Court’s ruling confirms that we have a reliable mechanism for renaming places that evoke or celebrate racist parts of our past. We now have a sure way to reflect our values today and to pass along the state we want our children to inherit tomorrow.”