The Cherokee Nation is asking Jeep to stop naming its SUVs after the Native American tribe.
The automaker has been using the Cherokee brand name for about 45 years, but Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, thinks enough is enough.
“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 told reporters. “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.”
Jeep responded to Hoskin’s pointed remarks by claiming the Cherokee name is a tribute.
“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. We are, more than ever, committed to a respectful and open dialogue with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr.,” Jeep said in an official statement.
Hoskin told the Wall Street Journal last year that Jeep has never asked for permission to name its vehicles after the Cherokee Nation.
Although Jeep claims it wants an open dialogue with Hoskin, he suggested to the Detroit Free Press that the tribe isn’t interested in making a deal with the automaker that would allow them to continue using the name.
“Our proud name should not be a corporate marketing tool,” Hoskin said. “Our name dates back to before recorded history. It’s against all odds that we are even here. Our name is invaluable to us as part of our identity. ... In 2021, it seems wholly inappropriate for a corporation to continue to make a profit off our identity.”