Milton's Squaw Bread: Not Forgotten, But Is It Gone?

ICTMN Staff
3/13/13

On February 10, Facebook user Eunice Beauchman shared a link on the AIM Santa Barbara Facebook page to a product at Milton's Baking called "Squaw Bread," and urged those who found the name offensive to make their feelings known.

A number of Facebook users posted the Milton's Baking page, and the company responded. The initial reply, on February 11, was polite but noncommital:  

Thank you for contacting us. Please be assured we understand your concern and it is not our intention to offend anyone. Our Squaw Bread is sold in Southern California based on a popular western U.S. bread recipe that is most commonly called Squaw Bread and is served in many delis and restaurants here.

The origins of the recipe itself are a bit unclear, but some say it was first developed by Western North American tribes in the 1920s. Our wish is to celebrate this wonderful native food of America and give credit where due without offending anyone.

Natives continued posting to the Milton's Baking page, and on February 15 the company followed up with a more engaging response:

We understand the power of words, and we in no way want to offend anyone. That being said, due to the recent issues raised by you and others, we will be evaluating the current bread line during the next 30 days. If you would like for us to follow back up with you and share our plans, please email us at testimonials@miltonsbaking.com. In the meantime, if you have additional thoughts and/or research you would like to share on this subject, please feel free to send it our way. We will happily review it, and take your view – and others – into consideration as we move forward. Thank you.

That response was posted 26 days ago -- the Squaw Bread product has been, and remains, absent from the list of products on the company's official website. Is it gone for good? Pending a statement from the company, there's no way to be sure. Such a move would not be without precedent, though: A similar story unfolded last month with the Old Town Bakery in Rancho Cucamonga. Although the debate was much less polite at times, the company did take the Native perspective to heart and announced it would rename its bread.

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Comments

LK's picture
LK
Submitted by LK on
I think it's sad when people go to an extreme. Squaw bread is awesome and I see only a positive light on the association. Should the British make a stink about "English" Toffee? There is/was nothing offensive in the name!

LK's picture
LK
Submitted by LK on
I think it's sad when people go to an extreme. Squaw bread is awesome and I see only a positive light on the association. Should the British make a stink about "English" Toffee? There is/was nothing offensive in the name!

LK's picture
LK
Submitted by LK on
Forget my previous comment. I went to the FaceBook page requesting the bread to be renamed. I know understand! I had no idea that the word itself was derogatory. I think most of the current, Non Native American, generations are under the impression that the word simply means "woman". Changing the bread name might be a start. However, I think it is important for public education, as a whole, to let people know how inappropriate and hurtful the word is.

extonare's picture
extonare
Submitted by extonare on
Really? To me this is going to far. What makes the use of the word Squaw offensive? Doesn't it mean woman or wife? If we need to rename Squaw Bread, then shouldn't we rename White Bread too? How about French fries? When does it stop? More importantly, when I go to the store to by Squaw bread, which I love, how can I ask for it?

Doreen Shupper's picture
Doreen Shupper
Submitted by Doreen Shupper on
I find nothing offensive with the name Squaw Bread, I love it and want it where can I find it? I used to buy it at Ralph's and now am unable to find it anywhere, is it discontinued? I hope not. Please tell me where I can find it:
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