A racial slur remains in hundreds of place names throughout North America

George Floyd’s killing this past spring has sparked battles throughout the country, particularly around places and things that evoke historical injustices and inequalities, like statues of Confederate leaders. But there are also clashes throughout North America around an often-used word that many don’t know is a racial slur: “squaw.”

That’s beginning to change now as places like Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows in California’s Sierra mountains are taking action to stop using the term.

“We’re probably the most well-known place with that name,” said Ron Cohen, CEO of Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. The resort was named by the first white settlers who stumbled into the valley; they met a group of Native American women the settlers called squaws, and so they named it Squaw Valley.


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