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Squaw Valley ski resort to drop its ‘racist’ name

The historic Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe will be renamed Palisades Tahoe after its owners determined the term “squaw” to be offensive to Indigenous women.

“This name change reflects who we are as a ski resort and community,” said Dee Byrne, president and chief operating officer of the resort. “We have a reputation for being progressive and revolutionary when it comes to skiing and snowboarding exploits. We have proven that these values ​​go beyond snow for us.

The new name – which means steep, high cliffs – is a reference to the granite walls and waterfalls around the complex. The new logo resembles an eagle above two mountain peaks. The name will represent both the current ski resorts of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in northern California.

The name change comes about a year after the Washington NFL franchise dropped its “Redskins” nickname and Indian head logo after decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans. FedEx, Nike, Pepsi, and Bank of America have all spoken out against the previous name, which the franchise adopted in 1933 when the team was based in Boston. The franchise is expected to announce its new name in 2022.

Just two months ago, the Cleveland Major League Baseball team, called the “Indians” since 1915, announced that they would change their name to Guardians, also responding to an ongoing national dialogue on logos and names that many consider racist.

Resort operators say decision to abandon ‘Squaw Valley’ came after an ‘extensive research and discovery process’ in the history of the area and the Washoe tribe that made Olympic Valley home , as well as several surveys and focus groups among residents. , employees, skiers and members of the Washoe tribe, according to resort officials.

Research has concluded that the word “squaw” is seen as a racist and sexist insult against Indigenous women, according to the resort.

The Washoe tribe of Nevada and California released a statement Monday welcoming the name change, calling it a “milestone decision.”

“Over time, the word ‘squaw’ has become a derogatory and racist term against Native American women,” the tribe said. “Native American communities across the country have been working for years to have this term removed from the names of places on their ancestral lands. “

Linguists and other Native American language experts describe “squaw” as a derogatory word for “wife” or “wife.”

“We were forced to change the name because it’s the right thing to do, especially for generations to come, who will grow up without having to use an insult to identify where they are chasing their dreams down the hill. mountain, ”said Ron. Cohen, former President and COO of Palisades Tahoe.

Squaw Valley, which opened in 1949, and nearby Alpine Meadows merged in 2011 under parent company KSL Capital Partners and management company Squaw Valley Ski Holdings.

The resort, which hosted the Olympic Winter Games in 1960, is also known as Olympic Valley.