Panel Recommends Restoring “Bde Maka Ska” Name, Dropping “Lake Calhoun” In Other News: Climate Change Forces Tribal Relocation; Omaha Tribe Wins in U.S. Supreme Court

The Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for the Lake Calhoun restoration plan overwhelmingly supported restoring the Dakota name “Bde Maka Ska” to Lake Calhoun. The vote was 15-4 with one abstaining Thursday night. The recommendation will be included in a larger report that will be presented to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

Restoring the name will be a long process, including stops at Hennepin County and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. But Thursday’s action is an important first step.

CAC members Carly Bad Heart Bull and Tracy Nordstrom led the effort supporting the name restoration. In a media release, they said:

In the 19th Century, Calhoun, a U.S. Secretary of War and Vice President from South Carolina, authored the genocidal Indian Removal Act and was an ardent supporter of slavery. His legacy should not be enshrined in our state.

The restoration of the name Bde Maka Ska is a first step in a process of truth telling necessary to heal fro the legacy of violence that manifests today as unacceptable racial disparities in our state. This is more than a name change. “This is a huge opportunity. Name restoration will send a message across the country that we can tell the truth and begin to reconcile. Minneapolis can and should be a leader in moving toward a just future,” said CAC member Carly Bad Heart Bull.

For more details, the Star Tribune blogged on the meeting with the headline: Lakes panel urges restoring Bde Maka Ska name for Lake Calhoun.

Climate Change Forces Tribal Relocation

The tiny Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw tribe has lived in southern Louisiana coast for nearly 200 years, and while President Andrew Jackson and his Indian Removal Act of 1830 weren’t able to push them out of their current homes, it appears climate change will.

A March 23 article in the Guardian headlined: The lucky ones: Native American tribe receives $48m to flee climate change reports on the move.

In January, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $48m for a resettlement plan, part of an initiative to help communities stricken by natural disasters. It makes Isle de Jean Charles one of the first communities in the lower 48 states to undertake a complete relocation due to climate change. HUD, the state and the tribe hope the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw plan will become a model for other tribes and communities facing imminent climate threats.

But while the relocation plan and funding are celebrated as an important precedent and possible roadmap for future relocation projects, this level of support isn’t likely to be available to other tribes seeking funding and guidance for climate-related displacement and resettlement.

Click on the link above for the full story.

Omaha Tribes Wins Major U.S. Supreme Court Victory

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision siding with the Omaha Tribe, stating that it could license businesses in Pender, Nebraska because it was inside the tribes historic reservation boundaries. The fact that the town of Pender had been bought up by white settlers and businesses did not diminish the tribe’s authority on reservation lands.

According to a press release from the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), Justice Clarence Thomas wrote the decision. The Press Release continued:

“The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision to uphold the Omaha Tribe’s reservation lands which were established by treaties is a substantial victory for Indian Country,” said NCAI President Brian Cladoosby. “The ruling in Nebraska v. Parker reaffirms long settled legal precedent protecting reservation lands from erroneous claims of diminishment. It also provides tribes with additional certainty when exercising jurisdiction, self-governance, and self-determination over their lands.”

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