‘Goodbye Mia’ Native American woman on Land O’Lakes packaging has been removed

Vincent Schilling

The Native American woman on Land O’Lakes packaging was originally created in the 1920s and was later revamped by Ojibwe artist Patrick DesJarlait

The Native American woman, known as Mia, that has appeared on the packaging of Land O’Lakes butter, cheese and other dairy products since the 1920s, has now disappeared from the packaging without much fanfare.

For years, the Native American woman has appeared sitting front and center on the packaging in the midst of lakes and trees.

But recently, packaging has appeared in stores without the familiar Native woman. On some packaging, there are photos of Land O’Lakes farmers.

The decision to remove the Native American woman from packaging has occurred as Land O’Lakes approaches its 100th anniversary in 2021. In a statement, President and CEO Beth Ford said, “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.”

After the initial creation of the image in 1920, Ojibwe artist Patrick DesJarlait created an updated image of the Native American woman in 1950. DesJarlait’s work now sits in the Minnesota Museum of American Art.

Today, DesJarlait’s son Robert says he has mixed feelings. He told the Star Tribune in an interview, “I’m sad to see it go, but I can understand why it’s gone. We live in a politically correct time, so maybe it was time to get rid of it. It certainly devolved into a stereotype.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ICT Phone Logo

Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling, Akwesasne Mohawk, on Twitter @VinceSchilling and Instagram @VinceSchilling

Email - vschilling@indiancountrytoday.com

Comments (5)
No. 1-4
jam77
jam77

This is a mistake or better yet a missed opportunity for inclusion. Why not use the image and change it to repersent different tribes..start with the federally recongized and go from there. Each Tribe could have had an (Native American) artist design their version for the package. In my mind that would have been better then erasing her. When all the images that are Native American are removed from the world culture then what is stopping the world from forgetting completely. I am not Native American but I am an american who cares.

Old Bat
Old Bat

I always thought Land O' Lakes applied to the Great Lakes or even just Minnesota. So therefore I always thought The Lady was representing people from that region. While the lands of lakes extend in to "Canada" I always thought this was an American brand. I guess corporations are running scared on the political correctness front these days. I think somehow that fact Mr. DesJarlait is an Ojibwe artist represents some kind of political awareness on the part of the corporation's art department, assuming it was done intentionally. To Mr. DesJarlait, I was delighted to see your image on these packages.

maryflanagan
maryflanagan

I have to believe that the original packaging art received a lot of criticism from well-meaning, mostly white consumers who were concerned that it was evoking an image at the expense of Native Americans. There is a lot of deserved anger about using names/pictures of indigenous peoples in branding and often rebuttals by those brands that their intent is 'to honor,' when it clearly is not. I wish Land O' Lakes had been more public about the origin of the logo as well as the NA especially Ojibwe (if a tribe can have a collective opinion) response to it.

Ogwaho
Ogwaho

So, we can't get rid of racial slur sports team names like the Redskins, but the nice butter lady is gone??


News

FEATURED
COMMUNITY