Milton's Squaw Bread: Not Forgotten, But Is It Gone?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.