California ski resort to change ‘racist and sexist’ name

An American ski resort is changing it name to remove a word that’s deemed sexist and racially offensive.

Squaw Valley in California is making the change after extensive research into the word “squaw”, which is often used as a derogatory term for indigenous women.

Native American groups, who have lobbied for years to get the name changed, were also consulted by the resort, including the local Washoe Tribe.

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“Our leadership has made the firm decision that it is time for our resort to move away from having our identity represented by a term that is deeply rooted in an offensive, demeaning and often violent history,” said Ron Cohen, president and COO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows.

“The simple fact is that the word ‘squaw’ is now widely accepted as a racial and sexist slur towards indigenous women, and we can no longer ignore the pain caused by perpetuating the use of this term, regardless of intent.”

The new name is already being discussed and will be announced in early 2021 and implemented after the 2020/21 winter season is over.

Cohen said the resort was finally making the change in response to the “momentum of recognition and accountability we are seeing around the country”.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, efforts are being made across the States to readdress racial discrimination and colonialism, such as the removal of statues of Christopher Columbus.

The Washington NFL franchise has also announced it will drop the offensive “Redskins” team name and Indian head logo, a move which Native Americans have long called for.

Emphasising that the resort name had never been originally intended to offend, Cohen added: “We want to be clear that we know the founders of our resort had no intentions of causing offence in choosing this name for the resort, nor have any of our patrons who have spoken this word over the last seven decades, since our grand opening on Thanksgiving Day in 1949.

“But as our society evolves, we must acknowledge the need for change when we are confronted with harsh realities.”

He said he welcomed visitors’ feedback, positive or negative, but made it clear that “[the] decision is made and we are not looking back.”

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