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 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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LK's picture
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
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
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
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:

climberbob's picture
Submitted by climberbob on
I was telling a young friend at work about Shat's Bakery up in Bishop, and their Squaw bread. As he looked it up, I saw the picture of Milton's, that I used to LOVE getting at Ralphs, and told him the story, and here I found it. I was totally heartbroken to not be able to get the bread anymore, and the reasoning for it because the name was offensive to some blew me away. I thought the overly politically correct was only a disease of us white people. I looked it up, and I understand in some cultures it translates to V. I still find this another sad case of the world having to bend to a few. I have NOTHING but admiration for the Indians, and am proud to have a little (5th generation, talk about a little!) from my Oklahoma ancestory. An equally sad tale was from a friend at work who had his son in Indian guides a few years ago. My brother and dad did the same thing (early 60's). But they had to do away with the Indian guides (10 years or so ago?) because it offended SOMEONE. I couldn't understand that. The whole premise of the organization was to HONOR, and LEARN their ways. How could that offend anyone? I was told at my Ralphs that they were going to rename the squaw bread, but I have never seen it since. Not to be disrespectful, but when my wife was pregnant with our first daughter, I actually considered the name Awahanee because I had frequented Yosemite for years. Then thinking about it, it WAS a little out there for a name for a white girl in conservative Orange County, and perhaps naming my daughter something that translated to "deep grassy valley" might not be so wise. Yeah, so should I start a movement now to change the name of white bread? The world has gotten ridiculous. When I grew up, if someone called you a name and you went to your parents, you learned to take it - "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". Now words cost people their careers. If you said something wasn't fair, you got "life isn't fair". Now everything has to be changed so it's "fair" for every possible scenario.

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