The illustration of the Native American woman who has appeared on the front of boxes of Land O’Lakes butter for decades has been removed.
“Mia,” who was known as the “Butter Maiden,” on every box of Land O’Lakes butter will be replaced by text including “Farmer-Owned.”
A statement from Land O’Lakes said they wanted to better reflect the “heart of our company culture.”
Land O’Lakes is a member owned agricultural group based in Minnesota. It was founded in 1921 in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The original picture was painted in 1928 by Arthur C. Hanson, an illustrator with Brown & Bigelow.
Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, explained the reason for the redesign.
“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.
Our farmer-to-fork structure gives us a unique ability to bridge this divide.”
The change was being applauded on social media.
“Native women disproportionately suffer from sexual assault, domestic violence, and homicide #MMIW,” one user wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for removing hypersexualized, subservient, stereotypical imagery of an ‘Indian maiden’ from butter.”
Native women disproportionately suffer from sexual assault, domestic violence, and homicide #MMIW Thank you for removing hypersexualized, subservient, stereotypical imagery of an "Indian maiden" from butter. https://t.co/KGv62PWGDE
— Elizabeth Rule, PhD (@ERuleDC) April 16, 2020
The tagline for the newly packaged product will say “Since 1921” and “Proud to be Farmer-Owned: As a farmer-owned co-op, we stand together to bring you the very best in dairy.”
@JohnmHoffmanMN provided some history on the image, tweeting:
“The packaging was redesigned in the 1950s by Patrick DesJarlait, a highly-successful Ojibwe artist from Red Lake. He said he was interested in “fostering a sense of Indian pride” across the Midwest.”
At least one Land O’Lakes ad, from Seventeen magazine in June 1970, depicted a woman partially dressed in traditional Native American clothing. The ad said “Save up to 1/2 on hard to find native design jewelry and leather.”
Clearly it was a different time then.
@_IllumiNatives mentioned the significance of removing an illustration of a Native American woman from the box.
“These kind of mascots are harmful, as @NativeApprops says,”the Indian maiden stereotype presents Native women as being pure, sexually available & something to be conquered like nature.”
At least one person was not a fan of the change, saying: “I am offended by this decision. I am PROUD of my American Native heritage. So proud! By removing the image, takes a part of me with her.”
@SaraKamali was sad that it’s taken decades for the change to take place.
“It’s heartening that this happened (unlike pro sports teams like the Redskins or school mascots); however, disheartening it has taken this long.”
“That wasn’t hard. Now all of these sport teams need to follow suit,” said @mclaw3.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan also tweeted her appreciation for the logo change.
“Thank you to Land O’Lakes for making this important and needed change. Native people are not mascots or logos. We are very much still here.”
Thank you to Land O’Lakes for making this important and needed change. Native people are not mascots or logos. We are very much still here. https://t.co/uzKF3K6FEV
— Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan (@LtGovFlanagan) April 15, 2020