Pugski Ski Tester
- Nov 1, 2015
- Reno, eNVy
SQUAW VALLEY NAME CHANGEAfter 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 derogatory and offensive term “squaw” from the destination’s name.
Work to determine a new name will begin immediately and will culminate with an announcement of a new name in early 2021. Implementation of the name change will occur after the winter season concludes in 2021.
From the COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows:
Today is a difficult but exciting day in the long and storied history of Squaw Valley. I am pleased to announce our commitment to removing “squaw” from our resort name. The concerns about our name have been long discussed, but as we all find ourselves in a time of increased awareness and righteous demands for accountability, our leadership team has concluded we must move from discussion to action.
After extensive historical research, consultation with Native Americans (including the Washoe tribe, who are landowners in our community), and outreach to our local and wider community, our leadership has made the firm decision that it is time for our resort to move away from having our identity represented by a term that is deeply rooted in an offensive, demeaning and often violent history. The simple fact is that the word “squaw” is now widely accepted as a racial and sexist slur towards indigenous women, and we can no longer ignore the pain caused by perpetuating the use of this term, regardless of intent.
We want to be clear that we know the founders of our resort had no intentions of causing offense in choosing this name for the resort, nor have any of our patrons who have spoken this word over the last seven decades, since our grand opening on Thanksgiving Day in 1949. But as our society evolves, we must acknowledge the need for change when we are confronted with harsh realities. Having our name be associated with pain and dehumanization is contrary to our goal of making the outdoors a welcoming space for all people. I feel strongly that we have been given the rare opportunity to effect lasting, positive change; to find a new name that reflects our core values, storied past and respect for all those who have enjoyed this land.
What will this mean for you when you visit our resort? It will take some time for us to find the right name, and we are committed to doing this right, so you will not see immediate change. Behind the scenes, a team will begin work immediately on choosing a new name, which we will aim to announce in early 2021. We can’t feasibly implement mid-winter, so we will target summer 2021 for implementation. However, while the name of the resort will ultimately change, the things you love about Squaw Valley—that made you seek out our resort, join our mountain community and build cherished memories here—those will remain the same. This special place will always be the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, the home of our beloved KT-22 chairlift and the legendary big mountain terrain where extreme skiing pioneers changed the sport forever, and the treasured mountain home for so many people who revere this amazing ski resort.
It can be jarring to face the stark ugliness that is embodied by the same word that names a place so magnificently beautiful, a place so many of us hold dear. By taking this action, we confront and acknowledge the hard truths, and we recognize that our love of this place and our cherished memories do not justify continuing to use such a divisive and hurtful word. Today we do our part to help retire this word to its place in history books. I am honored to lead the team responsible for putting us on this path, and as the resort president I am accountable for this decision. You are welcome to reach out to me to express your opinion, whether in favor or against, but please recognize that our decision is made and we are not looking back. Please join us as we move forward, together.
For more information on this decision, as well as the history surrounding the word “squaw,” please visit our website.