No more Squaw Valley: New name of ski resort revealed
TAHOE CITY, Calif. - Say goodbye to Squaw Valley Ski Resort.
As of Monday, the Tahoe City's ski slopes will be called Palisades Tahoe.
"For more than a year, our community has been waiting, wondering and guessing what the new name for our mountains would be," the resort said in a Facebook post. "Today marks the first day of the next chapter of our resort’s storied history. From our founding in 1949 and hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics, to the freeskiing pioneers and Olympians that put us on the map, the last seven decades have cemented our mountains’ place in the halls of ski history. While the name may be new, the legend and legacy of these valleys continue on."
That's because "squaw" is a derogatory term for Native American women, and last summer, ski officials, along with local Native American groups decided to lose the name.
When settlers arrived in the 1850s in the area where the Sierra Nevada resort is now located, they first saw only Native American women working in a meadow. The land near Lake Tahoe was believed to have been given the name Squaw Valley by those early settlers. The resort is in what's known as Olympic Valley, Calif. and was the site for the 1960 Olympics.
In a statement, the company said that going beyond the name change, Palisades Tahoe "has begun building a partnership" with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California to continue to give the tribe a platform to educate the public about their culture and the valleys’ origins as the ancestral land.
This summer, the resort launched the Washoe Cultural Tour series, which offers guests a view of the mountains through the eyes of the Washoe people, the company said.
In addition, Palisades Tahoe will install a Washoe exhibit at High Camp, complete with tribal artifacts that show the Washoe way of life that members seek to preserve to this day. The groups are also exploring future programming centered on making skiing more accessible to Washoe Tribe members.
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The resort said it will begin implementing the new resort name and branding immediately, but expects the full changeover to be a multi-year process.
The base area village on the Olympic Valley side will now be known as The Village at Palisades Tahoe, and Palisades Tahoe also plans to debut new names for the Squaw One and Squaw Creek chairlifts, to be selected with input by the Washoe Tribe, Resort at Squaw Creek, and the public.
Palisades Tahoe leaders said they continue to assist other local businesses who are interested in changing their names, and the Washoe Tribe is leading the efforts to rename Squaw Peak and Squaw Creek.
Regional California tribes had asked for the name of the resort to be changed numerous times over the years, with little success.
But after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in May 2020, a growing number of brands began rethinking their marketing in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests and a demand for more racial sensitivity.
As an example, the Washington NFL franchise announced last summer that it was dropping the "Redskins" name and Indian head logo, bowing to recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.
Also, Quaker Oats announced that it will retire the Aunt Jemima brand, saying the company recognizes the character’s origins are "based on a racial stereotype."
This story was reported from Oakland, Calif. The Associated Press contributed to this report.