The chief of the Cherokee Nation in the USA wants Jeep to stop using the tribe’s name on its vehicles.
“I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car,” Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, said in a statement to Car and Driver magazine.
But Stellantis, the newly formed company that owns Jeep along with other nameplates, replied: “Our vehicle names have been carefully chosen and nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride.”
Two Jeep vehicles use the name, the SUVs Cherokee (above) and Grand Cherokee (below). The original Cherokee was launched in 1974.
The Jeep Cherokee remained in production through to 2001 when it was replaced by the Liberty. The Liberty name was used until 2013 when Jeep returned to the Cherokee name. The Grand Cherokee was introduced with the 1993 model year.
“We are, more than ever, committed to a respectful and open dialogue with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr,” Stellantis said.
Hoskin has said that that the discussions were “good” and “genuine,” but he did not change his stance.
“I think we’re in a day and age in this country where it’s time for both corporations and team sports to retire the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys and sports in general,” Hoskin said.
Some have recently done so — the Washington Redskins football team last year became the Washington Football Team, at least until it settles on a new name.
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team said it would drop its Cleveland Indians name after the 2021 season. The team has not said what the new name will be other than that it will be a “new non-Native American based name.”
Cleveland announced in 2018 that it would drop its Chief Wahoo logo, a racist caricature, from its caps and jerseys.
More than 141,000 Cherokee Nation citizens live within the tribe’s reservation boundaries in northeastern Oklahoma.