Squaw Valley ski resort change name, remove Native American slur

Squaw Valley. Photo credit: Squaw Alpine Meadows

Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows announced a commitment today to change the name of the legendary California mountain destination. The company revealed in a statement that “it is time to drop the derogatory and offensive term “squaw” from the destination’s name.”

The resort has made the decision after extensive research into the etymology and history of the term “squaw”. This research was in respect both generally and specifically with to Squaw Valley and included outreach to Native American groups and the local Washoe Tribe. Outreach was also made to the local and extended community.

Work is now underway to determine a new name that will be revealed in 2021 and implemented after the upcoming ski season.

“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 Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

“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.

As much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, we must accept that these emotional attachments do not justify our continuing use of a word that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur.”

A renaming project team will oversee the selection of the new name.

The resort has put together an FAQ on this historic decision.


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Rachael Oakes-Ash is the name behind @misssnowitall and the founder of SnowsBest.com. A long time travel and lifestyle journalist and ski writer, she's been published in ESPN, TIME, Wallpaper*, Action Asia, Inside Sport, Australian Financial Review, Emirates Open Skies, Conde Nast Traveler and more. She was the Fairfax snow blogger from 2007 to 2017 and the Southern Hemisphere editor for OnTheSnow. Rachael is also a documentary producer, author, radio announcer and humorist.