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Historic Fort Snelling named 'national treasure'

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Visiting historic Fort Snelling
Fort Snelling, a popular field trip destination for school groups, is staffed by interpreters in period clothing who showcase life in the 1800s. Here, visitors enjoy the historic fort last June.
Jennifer Simonson | MPR News 2015

The National Trust for Historic Preservation Wednesday has named Fort Snelling its first "national treasure" in Minnesota.  

Fort Snelling's official name has not changed but the Washington, D.C.-based National Trust for Historic Preservation now calls it the "Bdote Fort Snelling." The Dakota word means where two waters come together. 

"This is a place with a very complex and difficult and challenging history and I know that at times the Native American community their history has not been fully told and fully appreciated here. So we hope that here where the waters come together that we will all be coming together as a community," said  Stephanie Meeks, president and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Treasures campaign aims to sustain historic areas while working to revitalize communities. 

Fort Snelling's Upper Post has 30 buildings that housed and served soldiers in the past. A proposal last year would transform them into subsidized housing for veterans and middle income residents.

Plymouth-based Dominium is currently negotiating agreements with several government entities including the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to finalize details. Construction is expected to begin in 2017.