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!
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.