The Land Stewardship Project (LSP) stands with the renaming of Minneapolis’ largest lake “Bde Maka Ska” and other decisions to strengthen visibility and truth telling for the indigenous peoples who have been systematically erased from Minnesota history and places. LSP stands with our state leaders taking legislative action to ensure the lake’s rightful name is restored permanently.
LSP’s mission is “to foster an ethic of stewardship for farmland, to promote sustainable agriculture and to develop healthy communities.” LSP’s core values—stewardship, justice, community, health, and democracy—are not possible to uphold without acknowledging the damaging effects of European-American settlement to indigenous communities and working towards healing. Recognition of Dakota place names like Bde Maka Ska, especially when replacing the name of a white American politician who was a leader in advancing and protecting slavery, is a straight-forward and needed step towards all of us in this state coming together as a community.
Actions by the citizen group “Save Lake Calhoun” to discredit the work of people to restore the Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska, to this body of water are in line with recent moves by Minnesota State Senators to revoke $4 million in funding from the Minnesota Historical Society as punishment for adding the Dakota place name, Bdote, to signage at historic Fort Snelling.
These actions are made possible by a culture of structural racism and are not aligned with LSP’s vision of Minnesota. LSP believes that dialogue inclusive of all Minnesotans will result in greater stewardship of the land, more family farmers, healthy food for all, and resilient, racially just communities.
LSP executive director Mark Schultz can be reached at 612-722-6377 or via e-mail. LSP staff members Elizabeth Makarewicz and Amanda Babcock helped develop this statement.