Bemidji ( bə-MIJ-ee) is a city and the county seat of Beltrami County, in northern Minnesota, United States. The United States Census Bureau estimates Bemidji's population as of 2019 at 15,434, making it the largest commercial center between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth. As a central city for three Indian reservations, Bemidji is the site of many Native American services, including the Indian Health Service. Near Bemidji are the Red Lake Indian Reservation, White Earth Indian Reservation, and the Leech Lake Indian Reservation. Bemidji lies on the southwest shore of Lake Bemidji, the northernmost lake feeding the Mississippi River; it is nicknamed "The First City on the Mississippi". Bemidji is also the self-proclaimed "curling capital" of the U.S. and the alleged birthplace of legendary Paul Bunyan.
Minnesota ( (listen)) is a state in the upper Midwestern United States. It is the 12th largest U.S. state in area and the 22nd most populous, with over 5.7 million residents. More than half of Minnesotans live in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area, known as the "Twin Cities", which is the main political, economic, and cultural hub. The Twin Cities are among the 20 largest metropolises in the U.S. Other Minnesota metropolitan areas include Duluth, Mankato, Moorhead, Rochester and St. Cloud. Minnesota's geography is highly diverse, consisting of western prairies, now given over to intensive agriculture; deciduous forests in the southeast, now partially cleared, farmed, and settled; and the less populated North Woods, used for mining, forestry, and recreation. Roughly a third of the state is forested, and it is known as the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" for having over 14,000 bodies of fresh water that are at least ten acres. Minnesota has been inhabited by various indigenous peoples since the Woodland period of the 11th century BCE. Between roughly 200 and 500 CE, two areas of the indigenous Hopewell tradition emerged: the Laural Complex in the north, and Tremplau Hopewell in the Mississippi River Valley. The subsequent Upper Mississippian culture, consisting of the Oneota people and other Siouan speakers, lasted through the arrival of Europeans in the 17th century. French explorers and missionaries were the earliest Europeans to enter the region, encountering the Dakota, Ojibwe, and various Anishinaabe tribes. Much of what is now Minnesota formed part of the vast French holding of Louisiana, which the United States purchased in 1803. After several territorial reorganizations, the Minnesota Territory was admitted to the Union as the 32nd state in 1858. Minnesota's official motto, L'Étoile du Nord, is the only state motto in French; meaning "The Star of the North", it was adopted shortly after statehood and reflects the state's French origins and its position as the northernmost state in the contiguous U.S. As part of the American frontier, Minnesota attracted settlers and homesteaders from across the country, with its growth initially centered on timber, agriculture, and railroads. Into the early 20th century, European immigrants arrived in significant numbers, particularly from Scandinavia, Germany, and Central Europe; many were linked to the failed revolutions of 1848, and partly influenced the state's emergence as a major center of labor and social activism. Minnesota's rapid industrialization and urbanization precipitated major social, economic, and political changes during the American Progressive Era of the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the state was at the forefront of labor rights, women's suffrage, and political reform. Minnesotan politics, culture, and identity are reflective of this history and remain highly progressive by national standards. Since the late 20th century, Minnesota's economy has diversified significantly, shifting from traditional industries such as agriculture and resource extraction to services, finance, and healthcare. The state remains a center of Scandinavian, German, and Czech culture, but in recent decades has become increasingly multicultural amid greater domestic migration and immigration from Latin America, Asia, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East. Minnesota's standard of living index is among the highest in the nation, and the state is among the best-educated in the nation. It is ranked among the best states in metrics such as employment, median income, safety, and governance.
Leech Lake is a lake located in north central Minnesota, United States. It is southeast of Bemidji, located mainly within the Leech Lake Indian Reservation, and completely within the Chippewa National Forest. It is used as a reservoir. The lake is the third largest in Minnesota, covering 102,947.83 acres (416.6151 km2) with 195 miles (314 km) of shoreline and has a maximum depth of 156 feet (48 m).
Lake Winnibigoshish is a body of water in north central Minnesota, in the Chippewa National Forest. Its name comes from the Ojibwe language Wiinibiigoonzhish, a diminutive and pejorative form of Wiinibiig, meaning "filthy water" (i.e., "brackish water"). The name is related in structure to Lake Winnipeg and to the Algonquian name for Lake Winnebago, which the Ho-chunk (Winnebago) Nation was named after.The Lake's area of 67,000 acres makes it the fourth largest in Minnesota. The headwaters of the Mississippi River begin at Lake Itasca (see Mississippi River Basin map); where it flows through Winnibigoshish, the Mississippi is at its widest - more than 11 miles.The former Winnibigoshish Township (now unorganized), located on the north shore of Lake Winnibigoshish, in Itasca County, Minnesota, was named after this lake.