After the Palisades Tahoe name change, where is the Washoe Tribe looking next?
‘This whole thing, it’s decent. It’s a decent thing to do.’
A 70-year-old ski resort near Lake Tahoe removed a sexist and anti-Indigenous slur from its name; a place once infamously dubbed Sq — — Valley is now called Palisades Tahoe. (High Country News is not publishing the slur out of respect for those harmed by its past and continued use.) The announcement follows a yearlong process of planning and discussions with the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California. For the Washoe, on whose land the resort sits, this is just one step amid decades of effort to change racist place names in and around the region, part which is still known by that former name.
We spoke with Darrel Cruz, director of the Tribal Historic Preservation Office at the Washoe Tribe, to find out more. This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
High Country News: What has the Native community’s response been since the name change was finalized?
Darrel Cruz: I haven’t really heard a lot from the Natives, or at least from our tribe, but I’ve heard from other tribal people from elsewhere, and they sent me letters like, how do I say it, I’m selling out to big business. And they’re saying, well, why didn’t I give it a Washoe name? For me, just having that name “sq — -” removed, that’s a victory by itself. And I don’t have to have a Washoe name because I am working on other areas within the valley for a Washoe name.