Famous Lake Tahoe Olympic resort changes its name to remove Native American slur

·2-min read
The Palisades Tahoe ski resort at Lake Tahoe, California (AP)
The Palisades Tahoe ski resort at Lake Tahoe, California (AP)

A famous ski resort at Lake Tahoe has changed its name to remove a slur that is racist and misogynistic towards Native American women.

Formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the resort announced on Monday it had changed its name to Palisades Tahoe following a year of research, and a reckoning with its own history. It is well-known for hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics, and is roughly about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco.

Local tribes had long called for the word “squaw” to be removed from the ski resort’s name because it is misogynistic towards Indigenous women. The word, which is derived from the Algonquin language for “woman”, was used in a derogatory way by European settlers.

Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne said changing its name “was the right thing to do”.

“I think it’s going to make a difference. I think we’re going to be seen as a more welcoming, inclusive resort and community”, he added.

His predecessor, Ron Cohen, had committed the ski resort to finding an alternative identity in August 2020 following anti-racism demonstrations throughout the US.

"It is inspiring that after seven decades in operation, a company as storied and established as this resort can still reflect and adjust when it is the necessary and right thing to do,” Mr Byrne said in his announcement.

“We have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding,[and] we have proven that those values go beyond the snow for us.”

The resort which is located in Olympic Valley is within the ancestral homeland of the Washoe tribal people.

Darrel Cruz of the Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Office said he welcomed the ski resort’s change of name on Monday, and that “squaw” was a “constant reminder of those time periods when it was not good for us”. He added that it was “a term that was inflicted upon us by somebody else and we don’t agree with it”.

The resort will reportedly work with surrounding businesses to help them remove the slur .

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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