Bemidji ( /bəmɪdʒiː/ bə-mij-ee) is a city in Beltrami County, Minnesota, United States. Its population was at 13,431 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Beltrami County. Bemidji is the most major city in North Central Minnesota and the largest commercial center between Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota. Bemidji houses many Native American services, including the Indian Health Service. The city is the central hub of 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 and, as such, is deemed "the first city on the Mississippi." Bemidji is also dubbed the "curling capital," of the U.S.
Its name derives from the Ojibwe Bay-may-ji-ga-maug (Double-Vowel orthography: bemijigamaag), meaning "lake that traverses another body of water". On occasion, in Ojibwe, the city of Bemidji is called Wabigamaang ("at the lake channel/narrows"), because part of the city is situated on the Lakes Bemidji/Irving narrows, located on the south end of Lake Bemidji, and extends to the eastern shore of Lake Irving.
Bemidji is home to Bemidji State University, Northwest Technical College, and Oak Hills Christian College. It's also headquarters of Bemidji Woolen Mills. The statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, local landmarks, are downtown on the lakefront. Lake Bemidji State Park offers year-round recreation.