Famous California Ski Resort Renamed to Remove Native American Slur

Famous California Ski Resort Renamed to Remove Native American Slur skiier walks past lodge (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America)

By Charlie McCarthy | Tuesday, 14 September 2021 10:05 AM

A California ski resort that once hosted the Winter Olympics has changed its name to remove a slur offensive to Native American women.

Officials on Monday announced that Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, located near Lake Tahoe, would be known going forward as Palisades Tahoe.

The resort's location, about 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics.

"For more than a year, our community has been waiting & wondering what the new name for our mountains would be. Today marks the first day of the next chapter of our resort’s storied history. While the name may be new, the legend of these valleys continue on, now as Palisades Tahoe," the resort posted Monday afternoon on its Twitter account.

Resort officials began searching for a new name last year amid increased national focus on racial injustice. Tribes in the region had been asking the resort for a name change for decades.

The word "squaw," derived from the Algonquin language, is considered misogynistic towards Indigenous women. It was used in a derogatory way by European settlers, The Independent reported.

"It is inspiring that after seven decades in operation, a company as storied and established as this resort can still reflect and adjust when it is the necessary and right thing to do," Palisades Tahoe President and COO Dee Byrne said in a statement.

"We have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding,[and] we have proven that those values go beyond the snow for us."

The resort is located in Olympic Valley, the ancestral homeland of the Washoe people, Washoe Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey said in a statement.

"We have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands," Smokey said. "We are very pleased with the decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades."

Smokey added that the tribe plans to work with the resort as well as Placer County officials to rename other public places and features in the Olympic Valley that continue to use the derogatory word.

The United States' men's hockey team won the 1960 gold medal at Palisades Tahoe.