Cherokee Nation chief wants Jeep to stop using tribe’s name

The chief of the Cherokee Nation 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.

A Cherokee Nation spokesperson confirmed the statement, which was provided to Car and Driver and published Monday. It was sent to the auto magazine after an inquiry in January.

“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,” Stellantis, the company that owns Jeep, said in a statement.

Jeep has two vehicles that use the name, the Cherokee and the Grand Cherokee, both of which are sport utility vehicles. The original Cherokee was launched in 1974.

The Jeep Cherokee remained in production through 2001 but was replaced by the Liberty. In 2013, Jeep announced a return to the name for the Liberty’s replacement. 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,” the company said.

Stellantis and Hoskin had a Zoom call late last month after the company reached out, the Cherokee Nation spokesperson said.

He told the group he does not condone the use of the word “Cherokee” by their company, according to the spokesperson.

Hoskin told CNBC that the discussions were “good” and “genuine” but 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 in his statement.

Some have recently done so — Washington, D.C.’s National Football League team in July announced it would retire its name and logo, which had long been viewed as a slur. It’s now called Washington Football Team until it settles on a new name.

And in December, the Cleveland Major League Baseball team announced it would change its name after the 2021 season. The team has not said what the new name will be, but has said it will be a “new non-Native American based name.”

Cleveland in 2018 announced it would drop its Chief Wahoo logo, a racist caricature, from its caps and jerseys.

More than 141,000 Cherokee Nation citizens reside within the tribe’s reservation boundaries in northeastern Oklahoma.



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