The name, Bde Maka Ska, has been associated with Lake Calhoun long enough now that the idea of not having a Minneapolis lake honoring the architect of Native American genocide shouldn’t be that shocking to the city’s residents who have any appreciation at all for history.
MPR’s Matt Sepic reports today that the majority of people who spoke at last night’s Hennepin County Board meeting supported changing the name of the lake, an indication of just how far the idea has come from a few years ago when the idea first gained a little traction.
Only about a half dozen opposed it for reasons that make little sense.
“There are a lot of ways to show support for the Indian community,” Linden Hills resident Tom Austin said. But changing the name “is a poke in the eye of over 90 percent of the people who live in the lakes area.”
Another speaker said businesses and other parts of the neighborhood are “branded” with the Calhoun name and changing it would be costly and confusing, ignoring the fact that they’re under no obligation to change anything.
At best, perhaps, there might be an argument that the name change could be inconvenient for people who are simply used to the Calhoun name. But this problem barely registers a blip on the inconvenience scale from zero to the Trail of Tears.
Should the name change be approved, it’s unlikely anything other than Bde Maka Ska would be chosen, despite the last-minute attempt by persons unknown to propose Lake Wellstone, in honor of the late senator. Historically, perhaps, it would be symbolic on its own for a piece of white history to swoop in at the last minute and steal an honor for Native American history.
It also would be the last thing Paul Wellstone would ever want to happen.
The ongoing question, of course, brings out the worst in us, just as every discussion that threatens white culture does. Today’s comments on the Star Tribune story on the hearing are, again, a testament to their inability to make a cogent and logical argument for honoring slavery and genocide.
Underlying any invocation of “politically correct” is fear that whites are losing a grip on their dominance of Minnesota culture and historical perspective.