Is the trip next in the struggle to see who benefits from Native American culture?
According to National park service, architect Frank Redford, who had patented his design for a tipi-shaped building, didn’t like the word, so he called them wigwams instead. Wigwams are domed, cone-shaped, or rectangular structures used by the Algonquins and some other Indigenous peoples of the eastern half of North America.
In 1938, Chester Lewis was so fascinated with a Wigwam village he saw in Kentucky that he purchased the plans and the rights to use the name. One of the Wigwam motels remains in the Lewis family. That one, off Route 66 in Holbrook, Ariz, was the sixth village built, and periodically gets a nod movies and television. The “village” consists of 15 white concrete and steel units 28 feet high, shaped like a tipi, decorated with a red zigzag and arranged in a semicircle. Calls to a motel spokesperson were not returned.
Samir Patel, whose family owns the final village built, in San Bernardino, Calif., said they had not received any complaints of cultural misappropriation. “We are just trying to manage the place and preserve it as a piece of history,” he said. The third remaining Wigwam Motel is in Cave City, Ky., and was one of two in that state. (Others were built in Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana.)
History alone isn’t enough to hold onto something when it’s hurtful, at least not to Squaw Valley, in California, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics, which announced last summer that it will have a new name this year.
“We have to accept that while we cherish the memories we associate with the name of our resort, that love does not justify continuing to use a term widely accepted as a racist and sexist insult,” Ron Cohen, president and chief executive officer ‘exploitation. officer of Alpine meadows of Squaw Valley, said in a statement. A new name has yet to be announced. The ski resort near Lake Tahoe sits on land that once housed the Washoe Tribe.
Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director of IllumiNative, an advocacy group, said in an email that tribal members and their advocates have been pushing for changes like this for decades. “Removing language that stereotypes and harms Indigenous people has long been a priority for Indigenous activists,” she wrote.