Say Goodbye to the Land O'Lakes 'Butter Maiden'

Native American woman who appeared on brand's packaging for decades has been nixed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Updated Apr 19, 2020 2:30 PM CDT
Native Americans Welcome Big Change in Butter Packaging
The new packaging.   (Land O'Lakes)

If you can't quite put your finger on what's different about your butter the next time you pick up a pack of Land O'Lakes, allow us to fill you in. There's something missing from the packaging—the Native American "butter maiden" who used to be kneeling in the middle of the logo, holding a box of butter, per Modern Farmer. Now the graphic simply shows the brand name, with the words "farmer-owned" above it and "since 1921" below. A February press release from the dairy cooperative unveiled the new packaging, though it made no mention of the now-missing woman. Beth Ford, Land O'Lakes' president and CEO, said the change was made ahead of the company's 100th anniversary to "[reflect] the foundation and heart of our company culture."

"As a farmer-owned co-op, we strongly feel the need to better connect the men and women who grow our food with those who consume it," she added. "Mia," the Native American woman who has now been removed from the packaging, originally appeared in 1928, seven years after Land O'Lakes was founded as the Minnesota Cooperative Creameries Association, per the Pioneer Press. More recent packaging only showed Mia's head and shoulders, not her in the kneeling position. Her presence irked the Native American community, which said the image was racist. It also went "hand in hand with with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls ... by depicting Native women as sex objects," North Dakota Rep. Ruth Buffalo tells the paper. The new logo isn't yet showing up on all packaging, though it's expected to be by the end of the year. (More dairy products stories.)

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