There Is A Petition To Change The Name Of A Second Ski Area That Uses "Squaw"

It was earlier this week that Squaw Valley, CA made the announcement that the mountain's name would be changed after the 2020/2021 season, as the word "squaw" has been deemed offensive. Now, a second ski mountain with the word in its name, this time in Maine, is being asked to do that same, though it seems that the owner is not going to go with it.

Big Squaw Mountain in Greenville, Maine has continued to use the name despite the passage of a law signed in the year 2000 by then-Gov. Angus King. The law stated the word "squaw" be removed from all public places in the state of Maine, including towns, lakes, and mountains. This included the mountain where the ski area is located, which was changed from Big Squaw Mountain to Big Moose Mountain.

However, being that the ski area is a privately owned business, the name of the area did not fall under the new law, hence the name was never changed. According to a report from The Portland Press Herald, the current owner of the mountain, James Confalone, has no intention of changing the name ever.

“Why would I ever do that?” Confalone told The Portland Press Herald in a phone interview. “What do you think the Kennedy compound in Massachusetts is called? Squaw Island. If it’s good enough for the Kennedys, it’s good enough for me. When this issue was first raised (in the early 2000s) we had 200 calls a day come into the hotel, and not one person said they wanted the name changed.”

Though the thoughts of the political first family of Massachusettes have not been confirmed in regards to the Big Squaw Mountain ski area issue, the thoughts of three women local to Maine have been made clear.

Penobscot Nation Tribal Ambassador Maulian Dana, Morgan Hynd, and Sarah Bigney all feel the Maine ski area should follow suit with California's Squaw Valley and change the name. In the same report, "Three Maine women started circulating a petition Thursday afternoon on on Facebook, two days after Squaw Valley Ski Resort in California announced it would change its name because it recently 'was confronted with the overwhelming evidence that the term ‘squaw’ is considered offensive.' in reference to Dana, Hynd, and Bigney. However, after some searching, the petition could not be found.

With that said, however, some have responded, agreeing with the need to change the name. Though Confalone does own the mountain, it has been operated by a nonprofit group called "The Friends of Squaw Mountain". During this time, however, the group has changed the name on its Facebook page to "The Friends of the Mountain." 

Will the name be changed? That is unknown at this point and it may be some time before it does if the owner decides that the name will stay the same. However, if the ski area changes hands, it's very possible the name will change, especially if the operating group has anything to say about it.

Photo: A bench from Big Squaw Mountain, Maine - Credit: The Friends of the Mountain/FB 


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