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Water Advocacy Calendar is Crowded!

April 11, 2017Patrick NunnallyProgram & AnnouncementsComments Off on Water Advocacy Calendar is Crowded!

A week from today, Tuesday April 19, Twin Cities water advocates will have a busy day!

Friends of the Mississippi River is part of a large group of water environment protectors putting forward a Water Action Day to meet with legislators and rally for clean water across the state.  For decades, Minnesota’s water protection policies have been among the leading edge in protection for clean waters.  Now the legislature is threatening many of these policies, arguing, I guess, that we don’t need to keep working to maintain the safe clean water that is so important to industry, communities, and the state’s quality of life.  The Water Action Day is part of Governor Dayton’s Year of Water Action, a broadly inclusive framework aimed at making citizens across the state aware of the importance of clean, abundant water.

As they say on late-night TV pitches “But wait–there’s more!”  The Minneapolis Park Board is holding a public hearing the evening of April 19 on the status of the Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska Master Plan.  This lake, southwest of downtown Minneapolis, has been known as Bde Maka Ska by the Dakota people, who have lived here, their origin place, for millennia.  Beginning in the mid 19th century, white settlers who were colonizing the land now in the state of Minnesota, named the lake Calhoun, after the Secretary of War who had authorized the establishment of Fort Snelling in 1820.  Calhoun, a notorious racist, slave owner, and secessionist, has become an increasingly controversial figure in American history; public momentum to change the name of the lake and park has been building for a number of years.

Taken together, the advocacy opportunities related to Water Action Day and the master planning for Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska sketch out twin avenues for water research, advocacy, and engagement for the long term in Minnesota.  No longer can we just assume that we will have a sufficient supply of clean water.  And no longer can we assume that the names things have always had will be adequate and appropriate.  In both cases, we must broaden the range of voices we hear, the stories we learn, and the insights we recognize to ensure that Minnesota’s waters are planned for the whole public, by the whole public.

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