Old Town Baking Company owners have received emails and Facebook messages in recent weeks demanding that the name be changed.
Native American groups consider "squaw" a deeply derogatory term, said USC professor David Treuer, an acclaimed novelist who writes Native American-themed literature. Treuer said he was taken aback when he saw the bread during a recent visit to a local grocery store.
"I saw the bread and I was a little stunned," said David Treuer, who is from the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Indians in Minnesota.
"I know it's a type of bread, and they're not the only company that makes that bread.
Treuer sent an email to Old Town Baking Company officials on Feb. 8 informing them of the offensive nature of the word.
Treuer's brother Anton, a professor of Native American studies at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, created a Facebook page calling on Old Town Baking Company to change the name of the bread.
A debate soon erupted on the Old Town Baking Company Facebook page over the term. The commentary included Anton Treuer posting a message that said, "We can't demand respect with disrespect."
The owners of the bread company said some of the messages were hurtful.
Don Bishop had tears in his eyes when he recently discussed his family being characterized as racist. His grandmother was Cherokee and was born on the Oconaluftee Reservation in North Carolina.
Bishop's grandfather used the phrase "sweet squaw" as a term of endearment for his grandmother, and the sweet wheat bread baked by his grandmother was referred to by her as "squaw."
Bishop said he was shocked when he learned about the offensive nature of the term. A post on the company's Facebook page said, "We have always known this word to mean `woman."'
"My father-in-law remembers his grandfather using the term in a loving and respectful way and perfected the recipe as a tribute to the Native American culture," Bishop said.
"We ... are heartbroken and so sad that we would unknowingly have a name of one of our products that could be offensive to the Native American community."
Anton Treuer explained his opposition to the term through social media.
"Maybe some people hear `woman' when someone says `squaw,' but a significant number of Native people hear a horribly offensive and derogatory word that offends them the way that the `N' word offends many black people," Treuer wrote.
Stacey Bishop, who manages the company with her husband Adam and Adam's father Don, has reached out to local Native American community members.
"We will change the name of the bread to something that honors our great grandmother and is respectful to the Native American community," said Stacey Bishop, who added she also has some Native American heritage on her father's side.
"We have been inspired to learn more about the rich culture of our ancestry and have already begun sharing what we have learned with our children."
Anton and David Treuer both said they did not believe the Bishops had a malicious intent.
"Despite the sleepless nights of a lot of the Native people on the use of the term, at the heart of this whole mess, is basically my desire to protect the self-respect of my 7-year-old daughter," David Treuer said.
"Their changing the name makes me very happy. It may seem like such a small thing but it's not."
The Bishops said the change won't happen overnight as it will necessitate communication with business partners.
"We are going to change the name, but we're going to do it in an orderly, business-like fashion," Don Bishop said.
Old Town Baking Company is in a shopping center in the southwest corner of Base Line Road and Carnelian Street.
Reach Neil via email, call him at 909-483-9356, or find him on Twitter @RanchoNow.