A popular ski resort near Lake Tahoe, California, is changing its name as pressure from the Black Lives Matter movement to address “systemic racism” in America continues to grow.
Squaw Valley Ski Resort, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, announced the change on its website on Tuesday, citing the “racist and sexist” implications of the word “squaw.”
The area near Lake Tahoe, known as Squaw Valley, is believed to have gotten its name from early settlers in the 1850s who first saw women working in a meadow.
Even though the name “Squaw Valley” has historical and regional ties, the ski resort did not want the term associated with its business any longer.
Local tribes have reportedly asked the resort to change its name multiple times, but the recent wave of businesses changing their marketing in the name of racial reconciliation influenced the northern California resort to consult with local Native American groups and make the change now.
“With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, we have reached the conclusion that now is the right time to acknowledge a change needs to happen,” President and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ron Cohen said in a news release.
“While we love our local history and the memories we all associate with this place as it has been named for so long, we are confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the term ‘squaw’ is offensive. We have to accept that as much as we cherish the memories we associate with our resort name, that love does not justify continuing to use a term that is widely accepted to be a racist and sexist slur.”
Today is a difficult but exciting day in the history of Squaw Valley. After extensive historical research, consultation w/ Native American groups & outreach to our community, we have decided it is time to drop the derogatory term “squaw” from our name: https://t.co/AphP6Muxk4 pic.twitter.com/3vABKBLr8Z
— Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows (@squawalpine) August 25, 2020
While a new name for Squaw Valley Ski Resort has not yet been announced, the news release projected it will be changed in early 2021 and implemented after the winter season.
Cohen said the new name will reflect the resort’s “core values, storied past, and respect for all those who have enjoyed this land.”
Last month, the NFL team formerly known as the Washington Redskins announced it would drop its long-debated name along with its iconic Indian head logo.
Quaker Oats also decided to pull its Aunt Jemima brand for promoting a “racial stereotype,” despite criticism of the decision from the family of the woman who portrayed her.
“This is an injustice for me and my family. This is part of my history,” the great-grandson of Anna Short Harrington, who played Aunt Jemima for nearly 20 years, said.
In February, Dairy brand Land O’Lakes changed its logo, which had no significant changes since the late 1920s, to remove the image of a Native American woman.
Beth Ford, Land O’Lakes President and CEO, said the change was made to further emphasize the “farmer-owned” aspect of the company.
Robert DesJarlait, whose father — an Ojibwe artist — redrew the image of the Native American woman in the ’50s, said he was “sad to see it go,” but added that we “live in a politically correct time, so maybe it was time to get rid of it.”
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