If there’s one thing we’ve learned over time it’s that nothing stays the same. Things change. People change. Opinions change. And what’s accepted as right and wrong change, too.
We (well, most of us) are finally agreeing that big statues glorifying people who endorsed slavery or running Native Americans off their land (or worse) are wrong. We’re also coming to the understanding that brands with mascots with racist roots, such as Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben’s, Land O’Lakes, Cream of Wheat and Eskimo Pies can have better mascots that are more suited to the 21st century.
In the sports world, the Cleveland Indians have become the Guardians and the Washington Redskins are currently being known as the Washington Football Team until they adopt a permanent name that isn’t hurtful.
In the travel world, McCarran International Airport is in the midst of changing to Harry Reid International, in light of the former Nevada senator’s history of racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia. (This New York airport also got a name change, but in the days after the BLM protests, it was more of an “it’s the right thing to do” thing, rather than because of racism).
And now we can add a popular ski resort to the list. Squaw Valley.
The English word squaw is an ethnic and sexual slur, historically used as an alternative word for Indigenous North American women. Contemporary use of the term, especially by non-Natives, is considered offensive, derogatory, misogynist, and racist.
It’s a bad word to use. It’s wrong and just another way to try to assert power over Indigenous people, the same as any other slur out there.
And in the wake of the BLM protests, the people in charge of Squaw Valley ski resort realized that the name of their resort, open since the 1940s, was inappropriate and hurtful.
The resort said in mid-2020 that their name was going to change (the whole story, and the decision-making that went into it is pretty fascinating – read this if you’d like to learn more). And now officials from Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows Ski Resort have announced the new name (and logo) for the resort. It’s now officially known as Palisades Tahoe.
In a statement, Tribal Chairman Serrell Smokey calls the name change a “positive step forward.”
“The Washoe people have lived in the area for thousands of years,” said Smokey. “We have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands. We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades.”
There are still plenty of places in the area that contain the term “squaw.” The resort’s address is Squaw Valley Road. There’s a Squaw Creek. Squaw Peak, too. All of those are on the list to eventually receive name changes, as well.
Feature Photo: Pixabay
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary
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We should ban history. History is just the worst. Or we can just toughen up a bit and learn to be tolerant. By definition, tolerance is ONLY relevant when faced with an opposing view point. There are 10 things a day I don’t like. But I suck it up and grant others the right to do as they see fit. People need to get a grip on their fragile feelings and man up. Oh wait, I bet that offends people too.
No, Ken. People need to be sensitive to others and care for them – their wants, their needs, and what’s hurtful to them – as much as they do their own agendas.
No – and about time you come to terms with your racism. Because – yes – your comment was racist. And from your comment it’s clear you are as well. Period. And you don’t get to decide otherwise. I’m sure you don’t recognize it at all – but the rest of us do. Under no definition of “tolerance” is accepting racism and racists included. Time to call you and others like you out for who and what you are.
Harry Reid is more offensive than McCarran.
Naming anything after a politician nowadays is probably not the best idea.