For the team at Palisades Tahoe, the past few years have been full of learning and change. We are so grateful to our friends and partners, the Washoe Tribe, for their interest in continuing to work with us beyond the act of removing the resort’s old name.
WAIT! This is Part Four of a Series. If you haven’t read PART ONE: THE WASHOE TRIBE, PART TWO: THE S WORD, or PART THREE: THE NAME CHANGE, we strongly suggest you go back and read those first to have the context you need for this final part.
Racial Slurs Removed
Our historic name change kicked off a slew of other exciting place name changes in the area. While we updated the name of two chairlifts, the Washoe Tribe worked with USGS to change the names of two local geological features and the town of Olympic Valley designated two new road names as well.
Here are some of the placenames that have been updated in the last year:
|OLD NAME||NEW NAME|
|Sq**w Valley Alpine Meadows||Palisades Tahoe|
|Sq**w One Chairlift||Wa She Shu|
|Sq**w Creek Chairlift||Resort Chair|
|Sq**w Peak Road||Shirley Canyon Road|
|Sq**w Valley Road||Olympic Valley Road|
|Sq**w Peak||Washeshu Peak|
|Sq**w Creek||Washeshu Creek|
We’d like to start off Part Four of this series with a Land Acknowledgement written by a team at Palisades Tahoe. This is a small but crucial step that the resort has chosen to take in continuing our relationship with the Washoe Tribe.
Palisades Tahoe Ski Resort is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Washoe tribe.
In our continued efforts to honor the indigenous tribe(s) that rightfully call this land home, we are formally acknowledging that Palisades Tahoe ski resort is situated on the ancestral homelands of the Wašiw (Washoe) Tribe of California and Nevada. The former name of our resort was not just offensive; it actively kept members of the Washoe Tribe from being able to or wanting to visit their ancestral lands, thereby perpetuating the destructive colonial history on which this area was founded by settlers. We do not wish to be participants in this cycle any longer. Moving forward, we will strive to be open-minded and respectful of the cultural history, practices, and wishes of the Washoe people. For thousands of years, this has been their home, and it is our duty and privilege to honor and respect both them and their land.
This acknowledgment is written with the understanding that acknowledgment alone is not enough, and we expect this statement to change or expand as we continue to learn and work to do the right thing. Some further commitments include:
- We will compensate members of the Washoe tribe for their assistance of any kind.
- We will take it upon ourselves to continue our education, including the education of our employees, as we move forward in this process.
- We will acknowledge and openly address the forced removal of the Washoe people from their homeland, including during the 1960 Winter Olympics, when discussing our history as a ski area.
- We will work to include the Washoe Tribe in environmental projects, compensating them for their time and money as needed, and leaning on their cultural knowledge of their land.
This list is not exhaustive by any means and it will expand. We write this acknowledgment not to absolve ourselves of guilt but to take full responsibility for the breadth of our wrongdoing. We hope you will join us on this path forward.
Our work with the Washoe Tribe did not stop when our new logo was unveiled. In 2022 and 2023, we committed to and saw through the following actions together.
Free Activities & Land Access
Any member of the Washoe Tribe receives 100% free access to the mountains, year-round. This includes free Lift or Tram Tickets, free equipment rentals, free snowtubing, and free ski/snowboard lessons. In our first two winters of creating this program together, Palisades Tahoe was able to host hundreds of visits (this includes repeat visits) for Washoe skiers and snowboarders.
A Washoe Display at High Camp
Co-curated by the Washoe Tribe, a new display is now open to the public at High Camp, the building at the top of the Aerial Tram. Visitors can learn about the Washoe Tribe and their history here in this valley while looking at artifacts, historic images, maps, and more. This is a small, free display that we plan to continue to grow into a much larger display over time.
Washoe Cultural Talks
Same as we did in 2021 and 2022, we offered Washoe Cultural Talks every Friday this summer. Talks were led by members of the Washoe Tribe, who shared creation stories, environmental knowledge, and historical facts. If you missed our Washoe Cultural Talks that happened this summer, you can watch one of the talks here. This talk is presented by Herman Fillmore, the Cultural Resource & Language Director of the Washoe Tribe.
Name Change Anniversary Panel
Last year, in the fall of 2022, for our first anniversary as Palisades Tahoe, we hosted a panel conversation between the Washoe Tribe and Palisades Tahoe administration. Panelists discussed how the name change came to be and what the process looked like. This event was recorded and distributed to all Alterra employees as an educational resource.
Continued Education for Guests & Employees
Palisades Tahoe commits to continuing to educate our guests and our employees about why we changed our name and how we can be respectful stewards of this land. Some methods of education will include:
- Increased land acknowledgments on signage throughout the resort. We added a land acknowledgment on this past year’s trail map.
- A dedicated piece of employee orientation to discuss our relationship with the Washoe Tribe and how we can all take part in this friendship.
- Distribution of digital resources such as webpages, written pieces (like this blog series!) or long-form video.
We know that we have more work to do, and we hope you will join us in challenging ourselves to push the limits and continuously strive to be better.