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This California Ski Resort Has Changed Its 'Racist' and 'Sexist' Name
One of California’s most popular ski resorts will be changing its name after the 2021 spring ski season, acknowledging that its name is offensive.
Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows said “squaw” is both a “racist” and “sexist” slur in a statement released on the resort’s website.
“With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, we have reached the conclusion that now is the right time to acknowledge a change needs to happen,” said Ron Cohen, president and COO of the resort. “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.”
The word “squaw” was introduced by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and used by early fur traders and trappers, according to the University of Idaho.
“There is now insurmountable evidence, dating back to the early 1800s, that the word ‘squaw’ has long been used as a derogatory and dehumanizing reference to a Native American woman,” Cohen added.
The mountain resort is known for skiing and snowboarding and widely known as the venue for the 1960 Winter Olympic Games.
“We recognize that when the resort was named in 1949, there was no intent whatsoever to be derogatory or offensive—it was just a reference to the name of the valley,” said Cohen. “Similarly, when our guests and community members say the name today, they are not doing so with an intention to be racist or sexist. However, the reality is the times change, societal norms evolve and we learn things we didn’t previously know.”
A team will begin work on choosing a new name immediately and is expected to be announced in early 2021.