From the Great Lakes of the Butterland

Today as I was making a little something for lunch for Herr Meow and for myself, he became transfixed with the Land O'Lakes indian maiden. 

"What is she?" he demanded.

(We don't have the who/what subtlety down just yet.)

"She's an indian princess," I triumphantly cooed, and then hesitated.

Holy crap.  So many years of buying Land O'Lakes butter (Land O'Lakes PR, please take note: I like your unsalted butter and your spreadable butter), and it took having a two-year old asking for me to take notice of this girl in depth.

"Pincess," he mouths, processing this new information.  "What is she?"

Blank.  I stare at her jet-black braids and her Caucasian features and her pretty dress.  Beaded dress, feathers.  So very stereotypical, and yet I couldn't tell you anything else about her.

I turn to Google for answers.  One of the first hits?  How to make the "Land O'Lakes indian trick."  Are you familiar with this?  I wasn't.

Apparently, you must dismantle a1 lb. box of Land O'Lakes and make a precision cut around the box of butter the indian maiden is proffering and place the knees of another maiden you can find on said box so it can be seen when you lift the flap you've just carved out. And then you giggle nervously over and over as you lift the flap and the lovely maiden shows you her "beadwork". 

Maybe it's better if you click here and see for yourself.

I am endlessly amazed at the resourcefulness of the teenage boy.

Back to the Land O'Lakes girl:  if you go to the butter people website, you can read how she –with some "minor alterations" they say, which I take to mean that they've made her whiter, thinner, and prettier over the years– comes from a 1928 painting inspired by the Longfellow poem "The Song of Hiawatha" .
Specifically, it was inspired by the hero and by his (most likely Sioux, possibly Dakota) lady love, Minnehaha, who were said to have lived in the Minnesota/Wisconsin area.  So one can infer from the information that perhaps the fair Minnehaha took some time from her busy schedule of being a romantic heroine to pose with some butter and inadvertently sparked small fires in the loins of future generations of pimply kids with X-acto knives.

Thank you, darling Herr Meow, for posing the question in the first place.  Because now, we know.

And now I won't fret when I find you've taken my box of butter some ten years in the future, either.

_________

By the by, I am guest blogging over at my pal Gunfighter's blog— so please go visit!
Happy Monday, all!

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This entry was published on August 18, 2008 at 4:44 pm and is filed under Herr Meow!, Schoolmarmish. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

4 thoughts on “From the Great Lakes of the Butterland

  1. I admit to having a facination with the Land o’ Lakes girl. In fact, to this day, long-haired brunettes are my favorite. … I may have to show that trick to my brother when I go home. 🙂

  2. I have the same problem with the “American Girl” dolls which maintain all of the Anglo-Saxon facial features and have only a darker tone to depict the minorities.

  3. I found that video strangely compelling…
    I am also amazed at the resourcefulness of teenage boys.
    As for the Land o’ Lakes pages, I wished that I could see a bigger version of the earlier maiden. I’m curious about the modifications.
    (By the way, I was just recently reading elsewhere about the Land o’ Lakes maiden: http://stuffwhitepeopledo.blogspot.com/2008/07/continue-to-consume-racist-food.html
    “Like the hoary fantasies of “Indians” and “Pilgrims” sharing with quiet reverence the first “thanksgiving,” the Land O’Lakes butter maiden helps white Americans sidestep and repress the horrific realities of what white Americans have done to Native Americans. It also invites continued white oblivion to contemporary Native American misery, offering instead a warm, fuzzy image, an image that is also oddly sexist, in that it’s both sexually alluring and warmly maternal (that combination might actually explain my pubescent attraction to her.)”)

  4. i am off to the frig to try this one & i’m not even a teenage boy!! no, just kidding but whodda thunk??

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