Sep 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Major Tahoe resort changes name after push to replace anti-Indigenous slur

Photo of a ski resort's roller coaster lift with the Olympic rings emblazoned on the building and a sign that says "Home of the 1960 Winter Olympics"

Photo: Michael Macor/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

World-renowned Lake Tahoe ski resort announced Monday that it has changed its name to remove a racist and sexist slur from its brand.

Why it matters: "Formerly Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, the more than 70-year-old resort celebrates a rich history as the host of the 1960 Winter Olympics," said Palisades Tahoe, announcing the name change. European colonizers weaponized the term "squaw" as a derogatory slur to denigrate Native American women.

  • "The word itself is a constant reminder of the unjust treatment of the native people, of the Washoe people," said Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Office's Darrel Cruz in a statement.

Details: Members of the Washoe Tribe and other Native Americans have pushed for decades for the resort to change its name. The company began initiating the process more than a year ago.

  • "This name change reflects who we are as a ski resort and community — we have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding," said Palisades Tahoe president and COO Dee Byrne in a statement. "We have proven that those values go beyond the snow for us."
  • Tribal chairman Serrell Smokey said in a statement: "The Washoe people have lived in the area for thousands of years; we have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands. We are very pleased with this decision."

The big picture: Palisades Tahoe leaders will assist other local businesses that express interest in changing their names, a Fox News affiliate reports.

  • The Washoe Tribe is also leading efforts to rename other sites in the region.
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