Publisher’s Note: Tahoe Weekly will only use the offensive name in the future when deemed necessary for clarification purposes. In all other instances, we will refer to it as sq**w as we would for other offensive or derogatory terms.
The U.S. Geological Survey has ordered the renaming of a number of local valleys and peaks after declaring the word squaw to be a derogatory term in February 2022. The move has been long pushed by members of the Washo Tribe, who are native to the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region.
Included in the order to rename 650 public places across the country are: Washeshu Peak from Sq**w Peak; Washeshu Creek from Sq**w Creek; and Olympic Valley from Sq**w Valley, all located in Placer County. Damalusung Lake was also renamed from Sq**w Lake along Gold Lakes Highway in Sierra County.
The announcement comes almost exactly one year after Palisades Tahoe announced the renaming of the ski resort from Sq**w Valley on Sept. 13, 2021. In the last year, local agencies and organizations have renamed streets and other public places to remove the word sq**w with additional renaming efforts in the works.
In 2018, the Washo Tribe also successfully petitioned the USGS to rename Sq**w Ridge to Hungalelti Ridge in the Mokelumne Wilderness south of Lake Tahoe. | geonarrative.usgs.gov/names_taskforce, washoetribe.us