A year after the Squaw Valley Ski Resort announced it would be dropping its racist and sexist name, the corporation has revealed what its new name will be: Palisades Tahoe.
The new Palisades Tahoe will encompass both the existing Squaw Valley Ski Resort and the linked Alpine Meadows resort as well, and officials say that while the rebranding will begin immediately, the full name-change process will likely take years. Squaw Valley's retail and residential village in Olympic Valley will now be known as The Village at Palisades Tahoe, as Bay Area News Group reports.
"At the end of the day, ‘squaw’ is a hurtful word, and we are not hurtful people," says Dee Byrne, the recently named president and COO of the resort, in a statement. "It was a change that needed to be made for us to continue to hold our heads high as a leader in our industry and community. We have a well-earned reputation as a progressive resort at the forefront of ski culture, and progress can’t happen without change."
The resort, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, has had the name Squaw Valley since 1949, but Native American tribes in the area — in particular the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California — have argued for decades that "squaw" is an offensive term and harkens back to a painful history.
"When white immigrants came, they used to buy and sell Native American women there," said Victoria Christensen, executive assistant to Washoe tribal chairman Serrell Smokey, speaking to the Chronicle last year. "That is why they called it ‘Squaw Valley’ — because that’s where men went to get women."
The valley, the tribe says, was the site of many kidnappings and rapes, and they successfully argued for the name change through last year. The word "squaw," while it was derived from an Algonquin word that may have once simply meant "woman," it is now considered a racial and sexual slur because of its use by white people.
"The Washoe People have lived in the area for thousands of years; we have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands," Smokey told Reno’s News4. "We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades."
With the new name comes a new logo, which the resort describes as "the majestic eagle set above two towering peaks [which] signifies the self-determination and individuality that has defined generations of people who called these mountains home."
New names for the Squaw One and Squaw Creek chairlifts are going to be discussed with Washoe Tribe.
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 pic.twitter.com/GJeyVO05hK— Palisades Tahoe (@palisadestahoe) September 13, 2021