The Land O’Lakes butter company has removed an iconic but problematic image from its packaging.
After nearly a century, Land O'Lakes butter is removing the Native American maiden from its packaging https://t.co/hPBb6GHVgX— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) April 15, 2020
In a statement reported in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Land O’Lakes President and CEO Beth Ford said that the famous Minnesota company redesigned its packaging to acknowledge the company’s farmer-owners “whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes products as it prepares to turn 100 years old.”
The press release announcing the change was originally issued back in February.
With the same yellow background framed by trees and a lake, the new butter package has the term “Farmer-Owned” above the brand name and is now without the controversial Native American maiden in the center.
“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,” Ford reportedly said. “Our farmer-to-fork structure gives us a unique ability to bridge this divide.”
The Native American woman had long been viewed by critics as cultural appropriation and insensitive toward tribal communities.
American indigenous academic Lisa Monchalin wrote in her book “The Colonial Problem: An indigenous Perspective on Crime and Injustice in Canada” that the Land O’Lakes woman was an example of the romanticized and sexualized construction of indigenous women.
North Dakota state Rep. Ruth Buffalo (D) told the Pioneer Press that the classic Land O’Lakes imagery goes “hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls … by depicting Native women as sex objects.”
The Pioneer Press says that Buffalo is a registered member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation.
"Yes, it’s a good thing for the company to remove the image. … But we can’t stop there,” Buffalo continued. “We as a whole need to keep pushing forward to address the underlying issues that directly impact an entire population that survived genocide.”
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