Distracted from COVID-19, Attention Shifts to MIA Maiden from Land O’Lakes Butter Box
America mourns for the Indian
figure who knelt like a supplicant before dairy,
fatly blessed our milks, our cheeses,
anointed our lands & shores.
The Google tutorials surface—
the “boob trick:” score the box & fold to make
a window for her knees to jut through.
O our butter maiden
brought all the boys to the yard.
Twittersphere so prostrate with grief
petitions are launched for the Dairy Princess:
O our pat O Americana,
O our dab O Disneyesque,
O our dollop O Heritage.
The mourning procession bears witness:
Jolly Green Giant & Chicken of the Sea Mermaid,
Uncle Ben & Aunt Jemimah,
magically delicious leprechaun & Peter Pan—
even the Argo Cornstarch Maiden & Mazola
Margarine “you call it corn, we call it maize”
spokesIndian raise stalks in solidarity.
Mia, aptly named, our butter girl mascot,
the only Indian woman gone missing
that anyone notices, anyone cares about.
Copyright © 2020 by Tiffany Midge. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on November 24, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“In 2020, we witnessed a string of major, long-fought for advances in Indian Country: The McGirt Decision, the Washington NFL team finally retiring their racist name, dozens of Christopher Columbus statues taken down, and Land O’Lakes Butter removed the Indian maiden from their packaging. In mid-April, just as COVID-19 gripped the nation, it had come to the public’s attention that the Land O’Lakes Butter maiden was quietly discontinued. Its removal sparked massive media discussion, along with controversy, petitions, and boycotts opposing the removal of the butter mascot. This ridiculousness had prompted me to tweet out ‘The Land O’Lakes Indian maiden, the only Indian woman gone missing that America notices, let alone cares about.’ I was referring of course to #MMIWG. It was distressing to see more concern for a cardboard cartoon than for actual Indigenous women. Additionally, the irony that the image had been named Mia (MIA) by the artist.”
Date Published: 2020-11-24
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/distracted-covid-19-attention-shifts-mia-maiden-land-olakes-butter-box