The packaging on their butter products originally featured a Native American "butter maiden." They've finally bid farewell to the racist image.
For centuries now, brands from the United States have appropriated Native American heritage in order to make a statement or for their own enjoyment. Let's not forget that the NFL has no complaints about the Washington Redskins, their name or their logo. We're also pretty sure you have (or someone you know has) dressed up as a "Red Indian" for Halloween. While our Native American communities suffer, White America profits off their culture and oppression. Land O'Lakes Butter, a popular product of the agricultural cooperative of the same name, has finally done away with the indigenous woman who has been on their packaging ever since they first launched the dairy product in 1928, CBS News reports.
The move to redesign their packaging was reportedly a way to celebrate their upcoming 100th anniversary. Ever since 1928, the butter box has featured a "butter maiden" on the exterior packaging. The clearly indigenous woman is depicted with feathers in her hair. Originally, she was kneeling and holding a box of butter in her hands. Over the years, the packaging was changed to feature only her upper body. However, it was still clear that the woman was Native American. For years now, the logo has been criticized for its racist depiction of Native Americans. North Dakota Representative Ruth Buffalo, the first Native American Democratic woman elected to the North Dakota Legislature, claimed the image went "hand-in-hand with human and sex trafficking of our women and girls."
Land O Lakes with a rebrand that begs the question—why did it take so long? pic.twitter.com/EDSIGfW9Y2— Joj (@JojoAmdur) April 14, 2020
After several years of criticism, Land O'Lakes finally listened to indigenous voices and redesigned their packaging in February. Now, the packaging of the butter box features an image of evergreen trees lining a body of water. The back of the packaging, meanwhile, displays images of farmers. The Native American woman has been erased from the packaging altogether. A registered member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, Buffalo allegedly claimed, "It's a good thing for the company to remove the image, [but the nation needs to] keep pushing forward to address the underlying issues that directly impact an entire population that survived genocide."
The company announced the redesign in a press release last month. "Farmer-owned cooperative Land O’Lakes, Inc. has unveiled new packaging for the company’s consumer-facing Land O’Lakes products featuring the farmers who are the foundation of the cooperative’s membership," the company stated. "The new packaging will show up in a variety of ways, including through a new front-of-package design that features the phrase 'Farmer-Owned' above the Land O'Lakes brandmark, 'Since 1921' below it, and a vibrant illustration of land and lakes." Apparently, the redesign came out of a desire to more heavily feature the farmers, who the company claims are "its greatest strength."
Today's meme is in honor of some much needed good news:— ElatisEagles- ᏣᎳᎩ Aunties ALWAYS bring RECEIPTS! (@EaglesElatis) April 15, 2020
She's gone, Land O' Lakes finally did the right thing & got rid of their racist logo rendering my & other artist's protest art either successful or obsolete depending on your view- either way #ByeButterMaiden #GoodRiddance pic.twitter.com/Tn4oLS2Yri
Beth Ford, the President and CEO of Land O’Lakes, affirmed, "As Land O’Lakes looks toward our 100th anniversary, we’ve recognized we need packaging that reflects the foundation and heart of our company culture — and nothing does that better than our farmer-owners whose milk is used to produce Land O’Lakes’ dairy products. 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." Neither Ford nor the company made mention of the removal of the racist "butter maiden." While Land O'Lakes may not have directly addressed the removal, this is, needless to say, a step in the right direction. Native American culture is not just a costume and it definitely does not belong on our packaging.