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California Ski Resort to Change Racist, Sexist Name

The famed Squaw Valley ski resort near Lake Tahoe is changing its name, after a long debate and input from Native American tribes. The leadership of the resort, which will now be known as Palisades Tahoe, says, "The old name was derogatory and offensive."

The California resort made the decision to change the name last summer, as many U.S. institutions and communities contemplated the legacy of centuries of racism. In recent decades, several other locations, in states from Minnesota to Oregon, have dropped the term from place names.

In modern usage, the word "squaw" is considered to be "offensive, derogatory, racist, and misogynistic," the resort, formerly known as Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said as it explained its reasoning.

The change is being praised by the Washoe Tribe, whose ancestral lands include the valley where the resort is located. The word "doesn't originate from the Washoe people," as Capital Public Radio reported last year.

"The word itself is a constant reminder of the unjust treatment of the Native people, of the Washoe people," said Darrel Cruz of the Washoe Tribe Historic Preservation Office. "It's a constant reminder of those time periods when it was not good for us. It's a term that was inflicted upon us by somebody else and we don't agree with it."

"The Washoe People have lived in the area for thousands of years," Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey said in a statement. Noting the tribe's reverence for its history, he added, "We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades."

The old name will live on in maps, in part because it's also attached to another place in California — a community in Fresno County. As a resort executive told member station KUNR last year, the similar names prompted the U.S. Postal Service to dub the post office in the ski resort's valley as Olympic Valley, due to its hosting of the 1960 Winter Olympics.

Read entire article at NPR