A snow skier above Squaw Valley Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe.
A snow skier above Squaw Valley Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe.

Name ‘as jarring as the C-word’ dropped

The Squaw Valley Ski Resort, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics, is being renamed.

"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," Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows, said in an open letter. "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."

A squaw is an English word stereotypically used to describe a Native American woman that is ugly, immoral and a sexual convenience.

"To Native American communities … the s-word is as jarring as the c*** word in English," Natalie Welch, a Native American athlete advocate told ESPN.com. "Imagine driving by and seeing a name that reads C*** Valley Ski Resort, because that's what it means to us."

 

The resort had been discussing the name with its local Native American community for many years but made the change in a year which has seen many terms of symbols of oppression of Native Americans and Black people have been removed or replaced.

"With the momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country, it is clear that the time has come for us to fully acknowledge and confront the reality of this word," the resort said, citing seven states that, since 1995, have passed laws or made other efforts to remove the word "squaw" from official names.

There are three sports teams still using the term - the Bellmont Squaws, a volleyball team in Indiana, the Dodge County Squaws, a basketball team in Georgia and the Jourdanton Squaws, a basketball team in Texas.

The Squaw Valley Ski Resort is located in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in northern California.

Australia sent 31 athletes to the 1960 Games, which were dominated by the then Soviet Union, which tallied 21 medals. The United States was next best with 10. Australia didn't win a medal.

Originally published as Name 'as jarring as the C-word' dropped


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