Say goodbye to Eskimo Pies. According to Dreyers Grand Ice Cream, the company is retiring the vanilla ice cream bar name after Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben's, and Mrs. Butterworth announced their recent changes in relation to the Black Lives Matter protests sweeping the nation. Invented in the 1920s, the Eskimo Pie was America's first chocolate-covered ice cream treat.
"We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognize the term is derogatory," Elizabell Marquez, the company's head of marketing, said in a statement. "This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values."
History of the Eskimo Pie
Originally created under the name, "I-Scream Bars," Christian Kent Nelson and local chocolate producer Russell C. Stover partnered to mass-produce the ice cream treat. It was Mrs. Stover who suggested the men change the brand name to "Eskimo Pie" to "evoke the chilly north and the indigenous people who lived there," according to Smithsonian Magazine. There has not been a lot of pushback on the Eskimo Pie ice cream name, but the owner of the brand is aware the Eskimo pie name is troublesome and needs to be changed.
What The Term Eskimo Means
The term "Eskimo" is used to describe the indigenous circumpolar peoples who traditionally inhabited the northern regions of Canada, Greenland, Siberia, and Alaska, with the two main groups being the Inuit people and the Yupik.
Governments in Canada and Greenland have stopped using the term Eskimo on legal documents and instead use, "Inuit". According to NPR, the term "Eskimo" was widely used by racist, non-native colonizers. In the past, some believed it translated to "eater of raw meat" which connoted violence and barbarism. The etymology is still unclear, mid-century anthropologists suggest the word Eskimo comes from the Latin word excommunicati, which means the excommunicated ones, but recent linguists from the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks share it might not be related to religion.
"linguists believe the word Eskimo actually came from the French word esquimaux, meaning one who nets snowshoes. Netting snowshoes is the highly-precise way that Arctic peoples built winter footwear by tightly weaving, or netting, sinew from caribou or other animals across a wooden frame."
There's no word yet on what the Owner of Eskimo Pie will use as the new name.