It’s Official: Squaw Valley Changing Name… To What?!? [UPDATE]

Squaw Valley Name Change

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Big news coming from the shores of Lake Tahoe. After months of deliberation and research, the CEO made the tough decision to make the Squaw Valley name change official. Per the executive team’s announcement, they’ve had concerns about it for a long while. The team concluded it’s the right moment to move into action, especially at this time of heightened awareness and righteous demands.

 

What Does Squaw Mean?

If you look into the meaning of squaw, it’s either unbelievably offensive or historically accurate. For the Mohawk tribe, “ojiskwa” means the female part of the anatomy. For the Algonquin version of the word “esqua,” “squa” “skwa”, it’s the totality of being a young female woman. Many will argue that within the native speakers of Alqonquin, they still says words like ‘manigebeskwa’ = woman of the woods, or ‘Squaw Sachem’ = female chief. Similar to other racial slurs, does it matter what the origin is if it’s used in a way to be derogatory?

 

Squaw Valley Not The First To Change

The interesting thing about the name is that the natives living in the region don’t even have squaw in their vocabulary. It’s a word that comes from East Coast tribes, so there aren’t even positive connotations for them but rather just something that was thrown upon them. Since 2008, there have been 16 valley creeks and many other sites across the country that have removed the word from their names. One of the most notable is Phoenix hiking spot Squaw Peak changed to Piestewa Peak. The peak was renamed to honor Lori Piestewa, a Hopi/Hispanic soldier from Arizona who was killed in Iraq in 2003.

What’s In A Name… Shakespeare Says Absolutely Nothing!

Squaw Valley Name Change
Image appears courtesy: Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows – Photo by: Errol Kerr

Shakespeare once wrote:

“What’s in a name?

That which we call a rose / By Any Other Name would smell as sweet.”

The idea behind Shakespeare’s quote is that the name doesn’t matter as much as the quality behind it. It isn’t the name that has made Squaw Valley famous. Host of the 1960 winter Olympics. Wild characters like Shane McConkey, Jonny Moseley, and Scott Schmidt. The King of Spring plus skiing typically until July 4th or later. The list just goes on and on.

What’s The New Name?

Back in August of 2020, the CEO announced that they would begin the process of finding a new name. And as of Monday, September 13th, 2021, the resort has decided to change its name to… drumroll please: Palisades Tahoe. Per the COO Dee Byrne:

“This name change reflects who we are as a ski resort and community—we have a reputation for being progressive and boundary-breaking when it comes to feats of skiing and snowboarding”

 

Additional Name Changes

That’s not the only name changes at the resort. The settlement in Olympic Valley formerly known as The Village At Squaw Valley will now be The Village at Palisades Tahoe. The resort is also working with input from Washoe tribal leaders to change the names of Squaw One and Squaw Creek chairlifts. In addition, the Washoe Tribe is leading the charge on renaming Squaw Peak and Squaw Creek.

The question is will nicknames like “Squallywood” still stick decades from now? Or will there be some creative soul that creates some interesting moniker. Who knows. The only thing in this world we’re positive about is change.

11 thoughts on “It’s Official: Squaw Valley Changing Name… To What?!? [UPDATE]

  1. ABSOLUTELY ABSURD 2 Change A Name That Has Meant NOTHIN BUT POSITIVES… In Over 60 Years… STUPID & RIDICULOUS & TOTALLY PISS’N ME OFF ACTUALLY…& Making Mrme Very GLAD I’M NOT WORK’N THERE ANYMORE

  2. This is so absurd. Nobody wants this name changed but white woke suburban liberals. Squaw means young Indian girl. Not sexist, not offensive. Our state and country has gone completely bonkers. Skied and raced at Squaw for many many many years. Unreal cowardice move

    1. I disagree. The word “squaw” where I live is very much used in a derogatory manner, by certain groups of men. I once broke up with a guy because he commented about a couple of young women we drove by that “they don’t count, they’re just squaws”. The word is used to sexualize and diminish native women, by some people. On the other hand I do believe that there are very good connotations to Squaw Valley and who knows the intentions of the original name rs? It’s just a name. I do agree that re-naming everything, and taking down historic statues is ridiculous, UNLESS the affected groups ARE offended and make it clear, not as you say BC some woke white liberals think it is offensive.

    2. I shied Squaw Valley for long time. The resort name is world wide known.
      The word squaw denote young woman and is not offensive.
      Problem is US it has become so divided that most everything this dear to most people it is a reason of hate or disagreement for few.
      Their voices get amplified by an increasingly liberal media who is using them as a tool for increasing market share.
      I rode few years back on a chair lift wits a lady of Navajo nation. She told that she dreamed for years to ski at a resort that honors native women.
      Regardless of the name Squaw Valley will remain same in the hearts and minds of those who grew up on its slopes.

    3. “Nobody” wants the name to change, really? I suppose that “nobody” wanted the Redskins to change their name either right? There have only been decades of protests around just this kind of cultural insensitivity, but the people objecting were generally not “big money” enough to have any clout .Have you asked any Indigenous people how they feel about the word “squaw”? I doubt it; you might not want to presume that “nobody” cares about this; it’s about time that “Someone” became aware!

  3. I herd Squaw is equivolent of c–t. This could have just been a misinterpretation during an early parlay.
    “I am Captain Newman and this is Lieutenant Smith.”
    “How! Me Chief Flying Eagle.”
    “Welcome Chief Eagle, and who is this?”
    “This c–t? Nagging Bat.”
    “Pleasure to meet you Mrs. Eagle”
    (Pulling his Lieutenant aside) “Make a note of that, the Indian name for wife is c–t.”

  4. I think all this renaming is BS. Political correctness is ruining this country. Jokes are jokes, historical names are history, some good, some not so good, but history none the less. I have a suggestion for those who get offended by every damn thing that they hear. Grow some thicker skin and get the hell over yourselves!!! You’re not the only people on the planet. A vast MAJORITY of people don’t agree with this type of action taking place around this country.

  5. Not sure why they just didn’t name it Olympic Valley or even Alpine Meadows.

    That’s a no brainer to me.

  6. Wow, there are some thin skinned easily upset white folks commenting here. It’s plain and simple people, it is an offensive and racist term, every bit as demeaning as Bl**k S**bo, the N-word, or Ch*nk. My wife and granddaughters are Native, and would be deeply hurt if someone called them this racist slur.
    But here is an example of ski area responsibility that I always wanted to share. Please bear with me, as it is a longer story:
    A while back, I was skiing Big Sky in Montana for the first time in several years. I came around a corner to a pitch I used to ski often, where they had cut some new routes. I stopped to consider where to go next. There was one of the wooden signs they use to mark the path and difficulty at the top of routes: It was black diamond and it said “Wounded Knee”.
    I felt like I had been slapped in the face, I had difficulty breathing. You see, Wounded Knee, SD is the site of a horrific massacre of several hundred Lakota elders, women, and children by soldiers of the United States Army on December 29, 1890. They were gunned down for dancing, and dumped in a mass grave. Using this name for the route is the equivalent of naming a difficult pitch Golgotha Hill (for Christians) or Auschwitz (for Jews). In other words, it simply would not be done. Imagine for a second being a Lakota skier and coming up on this pitch, of being reminded of this terrible history where ancestors in your family had been murdered, every time you happen upon it?
    When I got back home, I tracked down the email address of the CEO of Big Sky. This is a massive billion dollar operation, so I was not optimistic as I penned the letter. I understood how it might have happened; a hill manager pulling off a “clever”, yet historically ignorant play on words. I am in the position where I could mount an effective national publicity campaign, but wanted to begin with a simple person-to-person communication. It did feel like tilting at windmills. I labored over creating a historically clear yet polite letter to the guy, and finally sent something off at about midnight. I did not expect much of a response.
    How surprised I was. He wrote to me the next morning, thanked me for my letter, and relayed that he had had no idea about the history. He committed to eliminating the offense. It took a year, cost tens of thousands of dollars in printed graphics and web work, and of course the groundskeeping on the hill itself, but he carried through.
    This experience was a wee ray of hope in the era of Trumpian meanness; a kindness sorely needed where ever we can find it. Many of the above comments to this article make me fear that this narcissistic meanness will only find fresh fertile ground.

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