People who contributed to the Bde Maka Ska name restoration include, pictured clockwise from upper left, Max Kieley, Liz Kramer (Circle of Excellence honoree), Carly Bad Heart Bull and Christina Brown. Not pictured are Sherry Enzler and Fiona Ruthven.
February 26, 2021 – Congratulations to NWF Executive Director Carly Bad Heart Bull for her selection as a Minnesota Lawyer 2020 Attorney of the Year! Carly, a graduate of the University of Minnesota Law School, was selected for her work restoring the Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska, to the largest lake in Minneapolis. She was part of a group of attorneys honored at a February 17th virtual ceremony.
Carly and her family had been at the forefront of the name restoration since 2015. Their ancestors were part of an early 19th century Dakota settlement on Bde Maka Ska called Heyata Otunwe. Their efforts elevated the history of Dakota people, standing firm with community in the face of legal challenges, public perception, racism, and assertions that Bde Maka Ska was too difficult to pronounce (B-deh Mah-KAH Skah).
They successfully lobbied multiple authoritative bodies to restore the name, but lawsuits challenged that those bodies held the legal authority to change the name. In 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the state’s Department of Natural Resources had the authority to restore the name.