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Famed Tahoe ski resort Squaw Valley sheds ‘derogatory’ name

Famed Tahoe ski resort Squaw Valley sheds ‘derogatory’ name

Calling it “the right thing to do,” Lake Tahoe’s legendary Squaw Valley ski resort on Monday announced it is dropping the “derogatory” name it’s held since 1949 in favor of a new one: Palisades Tahoe.

The owners of the resort, which hosted the 1960 Winter Olympics, adopted the new name after a year’s worth of consultation with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

Serrell Smokey, chairman of the Washoe Tribal Council, expressed “great appreciation for this positive step forward.”

“The Washoe People have lived in the area for thousands of years; we have great reverence for our ancestors, history and lands,” he told Reno’s News4. “We are very pleased with this decision; today is a day that many have worked towards for decades.”

The new name will also encompass the company’s sister property, Alpine Meadows.

“At the end of the day, ‘squaw’ is a hurtful word, and we are not hurtful people,” Dee Byrne, the president and COO of the resort, said 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.”

Palisades Tahoe joins a growing list of entities dropping indigenous names that are considered offensive. The Washington Redskins became the Washington Football Team. The Cleveland Indians rebranded themselves as the Cleveland Guardians, though the team may find itself in a trademark war over that name. Nearly 50 years earlier, Stanford University dropped its mascot name and image, becoming the first institution in the country to make such a move, according to Indian Country Today, a digital indigenous news service.

Rebranding will begin immediately, resort officials said, but full adoption of “Palisades Tahoe” is expected to be a years-long process. On the Olympic Valley side, the base area village will now be known as The Village at Palisades Tahoe, but new names for the Squaw One and Squaw Creek chairlifts have yet to be determined. Those changes will be made in collaboration with the Washoe tribe, with public input sought.

With the new name comes a new eagle’s head logo. According to the resort, “the majestic eagle set above two towering peaks signifies the self-determination and individuality that has defined generations of people who called these mountains home.”

This is a developing story; return for updates

Press Enterprise