In Jim Cook's Archive


Minneapolis is known as the city of lakes. We have a lake named Hiawatha after the poem by Longfellow and a lake named Nokomis after Hiawatha’s grandmother. A stream called Minnehaha runs through the two lakes and over a waterfall that is a tourist attraction. Minnehaha supposedly means laughing waters, but in Longfellow’s poem Minnehaha is Hiawatha’s lover who comes to a tragic end.

The largest lake in the city is named Lake Calhoun, apparently after John C. Calhoun, a vice president who came from a slave state. Calhoun has been the name of the lake for 197 years dating back to 1820. John C. Calhoun first gained notoriety at age 28 by supporting the factions who defended the U.S. against British encroachment leading to the War of 1812. No doubt the lake was named after Calhoun for his patriotism in that period and not his later support of secession. Although he died in 1850, ten years before the civil war, he is blamed for southern intransigence. No question he is a controversial figure in history and his views would find little favor today. Nevertheless, Calhoun is an important historical figure whose accomplishment should be considered in their historical context.

Nonetheless, the Minneapolis Park Board has voted unanimously to change the name of the city’s landmark lake from Calhoun to Bde Maka Ska.  They’ve already put the signs up even though the change must be approved by the county and state. Given the liberals in charge at these levels of government, approvals should be forthcoming. However, in the minds of most Minnesotans, Lake Calhoun will always be Lake Calhoun. You can’t even pronounce the new name. For those of us of conservative or libertarian bent, this new name is almost comical and further proof, if you need any, of liberal foolishness.

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