TRUCKEE (CBS SF) — Amid a national reckoning over racial injustice and inequality, owners of a popular Sierra ski resort that played host to the 1960 Winter Olympics have decided to drop the word ‘squaw’ from its name.
Ron Cohen, President and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, made the announcement in a news release. The company had spent months carefully considering a name change.
“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,” Cohen said. “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.”
“We have to accept that as much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, that love does not justify continuing to use a term that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur,” he added. “We will find a new name that reflects our core values, storied past, and respect for all those who have enjoyed this land.”
Resort officials said work to determine a new name would begin immediately and will culminate with an announcement of a new name in early 2021.
Earlier this year, officials with the National Football League’s Washington team dropped the “Redskins” name and Indian head logo.
Regional California tribes have asked for the name to be changed numerous times over the years, with little success. Washoe Tribe Chairman Serrell Smokey said the name Squaw Valley is a constant reminder of efforts to disparage native people.
But the idea for a change gained momentum as the demand for social justice grew.
The resort has been the most popular of the Sierra resorts for decades drawing millions of skiers and winter sport enthusiasts. In 1960, it gained international fame as the host site for the Winter Olympics and became a symbol of the Lake Tahoe Area’s natural beauty.
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.