Times have changed and so has Land O’Lakes’ packaging, which will no longer feature a Native American woman with a red, white and blue feather in her hair and on her knees, according to a Minnesota Reformer article published April 15. The butter company made the announcement, via a press release, in February.
“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,” Beth Ford, president and CEO of Land O’Lakes, said in the statement. “Our farmer-to-fork structure gives us a unique ability to bridge this divide.” Now, instead of an indigenous woman offering sticks of butter, the packages will say “Farmer-Owned” or feature the farmers who churn it.
Even though the company has been around since 1921 and has used the image of a Native American for nearly a decade, the press release doesn’t mention the old packaging or explains exactly what this “divide” was. Brown University professor Adrienne Keene—who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and author of the Native Appropriations blog—is happy that younger generations will not see the “mascot” every time they buy groceries, she feels Land O’Lakes could’ve been more introspective.
“It could have been a very strong and positive message to have publicly said, ‘We realized after a hundred years that our image was harmful and so we decided to remove it,’” Keene told Minnesota Reformer. “In our current cultural moment, that’s something people would really respond to.”