From ACLU of Northern California <[email protected]>
Subject Why "Squaw" is wrong
Date April 8, 2021 7:00 PM
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Take action to change the name.

Friend –

Native American scholars, activists, and leaders agree: Stereotypical mascots and place names are deeply damaging and further racist and reductive views of Indigenous peoples.

Throughout the country, governments, schools, and sports teams are reckoning with this truth – and taking necessary steps to end the harm inflicted by names like "Squaw." But Fresno County has yet to do so.

That's why we need to take action: Sign the petition asking Fresno County to change the racist name "Squaw Valley." <[link removed]>

Take Action <[link removed]>

Here are a few reasons why Fresno County should do what's right and change the name:

* Indigenous communities in California are still seeking to heal from two centuries of indentured servitude, sexual violence and trafficking, forced relocation, boarding schools, and widespread removal of children from their families through the child welfare system.

* The term "squaw" is a racist and derogatory term that paints Indigenous women as dirty, immoral, worthless creatures to be exploited, sexualized, and subjugated.

* This dehumanizing depiction of Indigenous women has devastating consequences: Today, more than 1 in 2 Native American women have experienced sexual violence.

* California has the fifth-highest number of cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirit People in the country.

* The "Squaw Valley" Ski Resort – home to the 1960 Winter Olympics – announced its name change last year. Why hasn’t Fresno County followed suit?

Local Indigenous leaders and residents are calling on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to live up to its stated values of "respecting and embracing ethnic and cultural diversity" by changing the name of "Squaw Valley." In their petition to the Board, residents share that "the current name perpetuates a sexualized, exploitative, and humiliating narrative that continues to focus the desires and disgust of early European-Americans on the bodies of Native American women."

California was founded on the forced removal, enslavement, and genocide of Indigenous peoples. It is our collective responsibility to recognize these past injustices and ensure that they do not endure.

The ACLU recognizes that Indigenous peoples continue to suffer from historic injustices as a result of their colonization and the dispossession of their lands, people, culture, languages, and resources. We must not celebrate or whitewash that history with derogatory place names, or erase the impact of such names on Native communities living in California.

If you agree, please join us in calling on the Fresno County Board of Supervisors to respect their constituents and change the name. <[link removed]>

Thanks for taking action,

Tedde Simon (Navajo)
Pronouns: she, her, hers
Indigenous Justice Interim Program Manager, ACLU of Northern California

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