Squaw Valley Ski Resort near Lake Tahoe, site of the 1960 winter Olympics, announced Tuesday it will be changing its name.
Resort operators said the term “squaw” would be dropped and a search for a new name will begin immediately. Representatives say they hope to announce a new name in 2021 and the change will occur after the winter season concludes in 2021.
The resort said that 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.
Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows said, “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. While we love our local history and the memories we all associate with this place as it has been named for so long, we are confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the term ‘squaw’ is considered offensive.”
“As much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, we must accept that these emotional attachments do not justify our continuing use of a word that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur. We will find a new name that reflects our core values, storied past, and respect for all those who have enjoyed this land. While the resort name will change, this special place will always be the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the home of our beloved KT-22 chairlift, the place where extreme skiing pioneers changed the sport forever, and the treasured mountain home for so many people who revere this amazing ski resort.”
Representatives of the Washoe Tribe have said they will also attempt to have the term “squaw” removed from other geographic landmarks, including Squaw Creek and Squaw Peak.
Squaw Valley Ski Resort dates back to 1949 and was named after it location, Squaw Valley. In 1960, prior to the Olympics, the US Post Office formally changed the name of the community to Olympic Valley. However, Squaw Valley Ski Resort retained its name and the location of the 1960 Olympics was referred to as Squaw Valley.