California’s popular Squaw Valley ski resort will change its name, officials announced on Tuesday.
The decision was reached after consulting with local Native American groups and extensive research into the etymology and history of the term “squaw”, said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.
Regional California tribes had long asked for the name of the resort to be changed, up until now with little success.
The word “squaw”, derived from the Algonquin language, may have once simply meant “woman”, but over generations, the word morphed into a misogynist and racist term to disparage indigenous women.
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.
“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 considered offensive,” Cohen said.
Work to find a new name for the site – which was the scene of the 1960 Winter Olympics – will start immediately and is expected to be announced next year, Cohen added.