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Should the U.S. give Minnesota's lil tip o' land to Canada?

It's the Northwest Angle, the tiny hunk of Minnesota located across Lake of the Woods.

It's the Northwest Angle, the tiny hunk of Minnesota located across Lake of the Woods. Google Maps

Should the Northwest Angle -- that tiny, watery, northernmost tip of Minnesota -- be surrendered to Canada?

At least 428 people think so. That's the number of signatures attached to "Give Canada back the Northwest Angle located in MANITOBA," a petition that was submitted on Sunday through the White House's official We the People channel. 

"Negotiators of the initial Canada-U.S. border misunderstood the geography of the area," the petition reads. "Make America great by correcting this critical survey error."

For that to even be considered, the petition would need 99,572 more co-signers by the end of the month, thus meeting the 100,000-signature threshold that triggers a response from the White House. 

Logically, the aggrieved petitioners make a compelling case. The reason the Northwest Angle belongs to the U.S., they contend, is due to a comically inaccurate 1755 map drawn by American John Mitchell, noted non-cartographer. Ben Franklin and U.K. officials relied on Mitchell's map -- which suggests the Mississippi River begins near a misshapen Lake of the Woods, about 150 miles north from its actual headwaters -- while sketching the international boarder around the time of the 1783 Treaty of Paris, CBC reports in its coverage of the petition. 

Take a look, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons:

Emotionally, however, nuts to that! Our death-rattling empire needs every inch of those 123 square miles. Then again, the Northwest Angle seems to present nightmarish border-crossing logistics to its 119 residents, though feds did ease the process last year.

"Grocery shopping is once a week, and that's an hour and fifteen minutes, one way," fishing lodge owner Lisa Goulet told CBS News in 2016. "It takes a unique blend of personality traits to really make a go of this." 

Other elements to consider:

Spatially, it's odd that just one tiny nub of Minnesota extends north of the 49th parallel.

Aesthetically, it's nice that the state sports a lil cap. 

Realistically, as readers have pointed out, it's a chunk of land that mostly belongs to the Red Lake Band of Chippewa, so this far-fetched hypothetical would likely be their call. 

Contextually, this is the least important border news of the current moment

Click here to read a MinnPost deep-dive on the history of the Northwest Angle.