SQUAW VALLEY, CA—On Tuesday, August 25, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Resort, located west of Lake Tahoe, announced they decided to change their name. The name originally belongs to Native American groups. The resort’s name has been considered inappropriate and disparaging of Native American communities. The new name will follow their core values and will be announced in early 2021.
Squaw Valley’s website states:
“After extensive research into the etymology and history of the term “squaw,” both generally and specifically with respect to Squaw Valley, outreach to Native American groups, including the local Washoe Tribe, and outreach to the local and extended community, company leadership has decided it is time to drop the derogatory and offensive term ‘squaw’ from the destination’s name.”
The word, squaw, and Squaw stereotype have been applied disrespectfully and is offensive in the Native American culture. The Squaw Valley’s website introduces that Lieutenant James W. Steele (1840-1905) wrote in Memoirs (1883), “…the universal ‘squaw’ – squat, angular, pig-eyed, ragged, wretched, and insect-haunted.” Common stereotypes like the phrase the ‘Princess and the Squaw’ highlight Native American princesses’ dark skin color.
“With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, we have reached the conclusion that now is the right time to acknowledge a change needs to happen,” commented Ron Cohen, President and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
“While we love our local history and the memories we all associate with this place as it has been named for so long, we confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the ‘squaw’ is offensive. We have accepted that as much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, that love does not justify continuing to use a term that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexists slur.”
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows ski resort is known for being the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics. It has a KT-22 chair lift and been popular among skiing pioneers.