News, Culture & Society

Squaw Valley Ski Resort may alter ‘racist’, ‘misogynistic’ name

Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California could soon be changing its name, with officials saying the word ‘squaw’ has become a ‘racist, misogynistic’ term that is disparaging to Native American women. 

The resort’s president and CEO, Ron Cohen, announced the news Monday amid a national reckoning on racial injustice in the U.S. that has seen several other corporations and locations change their names amid assertions they are offensive. 

‘As far as we can tell, the name ‘Squaw Valley’ was first applied to this valley sometime in the time of period of settlement in the 1850s,’ Cohen explained to the Associated Press. 

‘The origin story goes that when settlers came here, they found only the Native American women in the meadow.’

While the word may have originally just meant ‘Native American woman’, the word has morphed into a slur in recent decades. 

Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California could soon be changing its name, with officials saying the word ‘squaw’ has become a ‘racist, misogynistic’ term that is disparaging to Native American women

Vanessa Esquivido, a professor of American Indian Studies at California State University, told The Los Angeles Times that the term is now both ‘misogynistic and racist’. 

Merriam-Webster dictionary states that  ‘squaw’ is now ‘usually used offensively’. 

Squaw Valley Ski Resort was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and one tribal leader in the area says the destination should be renamed ‘Olympic Valley’. 

However, Cohen cautions that the name-change won’t happen overnight. 

The current name appears on signs, uniforms and vehicles, and altering them would be an expensive process. 

Officials will have to meet with the resort’s shareholders to discuss the situation. 

‘Should we decide to change our name, not only will we have a significant effort about what is the right name to appropriately reflect this place, but we’ll have a massive amount of work to do that will take a long time,’ Cohen told the Associated Press. 

Squaw Valley Ski Resort was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and one tribal leader in the area says the destination should be renamed 'Olympic Valley'

Squaw Valley Ski Resort was the location of the 1960 Winter Olympics, and one tribal leader in the area says the destination should be renamed ‘Olympic Valley’

'Squaw Valley' appears on signs, uniforms and vehicles, and altering them would be an expensive process. Officials will have to meet with the resort's shareholders to discuss the situation. Skiers are seen at the resort in March

‘Squaw Valley’ appears on signs, uniforms and vehicles, and altering them would be an expensive process. Officials will have to meet with the resort’s shareholders to discuss the situation. Skiers are seen at the resort in March 

Meanwhile, officials in Phoenix, Arizona last week voted unanimously this week to rename a street known as ‘Squaw Peak Drive’. 

The initiative to rename Squaw Peak Drive has been an ongoing issue for years. Some residents opposed the change, saying they would have to change addresses on letterhead, bills and other important documents. But in 2017, the council approved a measure that would give the city the right to re-name derogatory street names without residents’ consent.

The Phoenix City Council has now voted to go ahead with the name change, to the approval of local Native American groups. 

‘The s-word continues to be one that is highly derogatory and of the sexual nature to American Indian women, and one that continues to be used as a negative tool, as a weapon, to make us feel less than human,’ Hibbeler said.

Patti Hibbeler, CEO of the Phoenix Indian Center, stated. 

Elsewhere, executives for the NFL’s Washington Redskins  announced Monday that they,too, would be changing their contentious nickname and logo after widespread criticism. 

The team has been referred to as ‘the Redskins’ for more than a century.  

The move has put pressure on other sports teams – including the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks and the Kansas City Chiefs – to consider changing their names. 

Washington's NFL announced it will no longer use the name 'Redskins' on Monday

Washington’s NFL announced it will no longer use the name ‘Redskins’ on Monday

There has long been a campaign to try to get the Redskins to change their name. Protesters are pictured here in 2013, in Denver

There has long been a campaign to try to get the Redskins to change their name. Protesters are pictured here in 2013, in Denver

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.