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Squaw Valley Resort, Acknowledging ‘Racist and Sexist’ Name, Changes It

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The name removal comes amid a broader cultural reckoning over the racist symbolism in town squares, state parks, universities and sports franchises. The effort gained momentum after a deadly white supremacist rally in 2017 in Charlottesville over a Confederate monument of Robert E. Lee, and was further energized by the killing of Mr. Floyd.

Native American groups have long protested the use of Indigenous nicknames and mascots, but the movement gained new allies amid the nationwide protests against racial injustice.

On Monday, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California commended the resort for the name change, calling it a “bold” decision.

“They were willing to do it,” Serrell Smokey, the tribe’s chairman, said in an interview. “They were not forced. Of course the tribe pushed them for many years. But the fact that they were willing to do the right thing and get rid of this very hurtful word that was in the name of their resort was just really bold.”

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Mr. Smokey said that Native American communities across the country had been working for years to remove “squaw” from place names.

“It affects all Native people across the country,” he said. “It was a term that was used to belittle others, mainly women, to dehumanize them so that it was OK for them in the eyes of the Americans to be abused, murdered, raped and turned into slaves.”

He added, “It’s also a term that somehow along the way just became accepted.”

Last year, under pressure from corporate sponsors, the Washington football team announced it would drop its “Redskins” name and Indian head logo, a forced turnaround by the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, who for years had said that he would never change the name. In December, Cleveland’s baseball team announced it would abandon the name “Indians.”



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