Reader Opinion: Brainerd’s new park

I propose that the name of the Lyman P. White Park should be something more inclusive and reflective of our community.

Stack of newspapers on a laptop computer.

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the name “Lyman P. White Park,” which has been approved for the new park along the Mississippi River with no community input. The name of this park, in my opinion, is underwhelming; we can do better.

A five minute Google search on Lyman P. White revealed the following disturbing tidbit: “White was mayor of Brainerd From May 1874-75… His obituary noted while he was mayor he had an ordinance passed that all Indians found within the city limits after dark should be locked up.“ (Brainerd dispatch, June 20, 2022)

The name glorifies a dark chapter in our nation’s history, and could be construed as celebrating individuals who upheld the institution of white supremacy. It is an unwelcome affirmation of the oppression and discrimination that native Americans have endured throughout our history.

I propose that the name of this park should be something more inclusive and reflective of our community. Brainerd has a wonderful park system, and the new riverside park promises to be one of its crown jewels. Perhaps the name could reflect something of nature and the river it is designed to celebrate.

I urge the Parks Board and City Council to do better.


Sarah Gorham


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