Ski resort drops ‘Squaw’ from name
Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced Tuesday that it will drop the word “Squaw” from its official title and to set about creating a new name for its world famous recreation area and facilities in Olympic Valley.
In a statement issued Tuesday night, The Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California commended and fully supported resort Chief Operating Officer Ron Cohen and its management and others who contributed to the decision.
Over time, the word “squaw” came to be used as a derogatory and racist term against Native American women. Native American communities across the country have been working for years to have this term removed from placenames in their ancestral lands.
“The Washoe People have lived in the area for thousands of years; we have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands,” Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey and Tribal Vice Chairman Rueben Vasquez said. “We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades. The Washoe Tribal Council recognizes the significance of the name change and on behalf of the Washoe people expresses its great appreciation for this positive step forward.”
Washoe Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Darrel Cruz, along with past and present Tribal leaders, has been coordinating with Resort management on this initiative, and will continue to work with the Resort as well as with the Squaw Valley Public Service District and with Placer County to rename other public places and features in Olympic Valley.
Lake Tahoe and its surrounding area in Nevada and California are the aboriginal homelands of the Washoe Tribe, and the Tribe currently owns real estate in Olympic Valley.
The resort said it conducted 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 term from the destination’s name.
Work to determine a new name is scheduled to begin immediately and will culminate with an announcement of a new name in 2021. Implementation of the name change will occur after the winter season concludes in 2021.