Lake Tahoe ski resort changing 'derogatory and offensive' name

Thursday, August 20, 2020
FILE: In this July 8, 2020 file photo, the Olympic rings stand atop a sign at the entrance to the Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Squaw Valley Resort west of Lake Tahoe announced it's changing its name after "extensive research into the etymology and history of the term 'squaw.'" On Tuesday, the ski resort's leadership said it's time to drop the "derogatory and offensive" name.

"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 offensive," said COO Ron Cohen in a statement. "We have to accept 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 sexist slur."

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The word has been used as a dehumanizing way to refer to Native American women. Dictionaries and journalistic style guides both call the term offensive and/or a slur.

The company said it conferred with the local Washoe Tribe in making its decision.

"We have been in the area for thousands of years. Olympic Valley is within the ancestral homeland of the Washoe people," said Darrel Cruz of the Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Office in the ski resort's press release. "The word itself is a constant reminder of the unjust treatment of the native people, of the Washoe people. It's a constant reminder of those time periods when it was not good for us. It's a term that was inflicted upon us by somebody else and we don't agree with it."

The search for a new name is on, the resort says. It will be announced in early 2021.

The resort was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.