It is time for Jeep to stop using the Cherokee Nation’s name on its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUVs, the chief of the Oklahoma-based tribe said.
Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. said in a statement first reported by Car & Driver magazine that he believes corporations and sports teams should stop using Indigenous names, images and mascots as nicknames or on their products.
“I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honour us by having our name plastered on the side of a car,” Hoskin said.
A Jeep spokesperson told CBC News in a statement: “Our vehicle names have been carefully chosen and nurtured over the years to honour 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.”
The company didn’t say whether it was considering renaming the vehicles and didn’t immediately reply to an email requesting that information.
Hoskin said the best way to honour the Tahlequah, Okla.-based tribe is to learn more about its history.
“The best way to honour us is to learn about our sovereign government, our role in this country, our history, culture and language and have meaningful dialogue with federally recognized tribes on cultural appropriateness,” Hoskin said.
The controversy comes amid a national reckoning over the use of Indigenous names and images, particularly in sports.
After years of resistance and under pressure from corporate sponsors, the NFL’s Washington, D.C., franchise announced last year that it was dropping its nickname and logo and would go by the name Washington Football Team until a permanent replacement was chosen. Major League Baseball’s Cleveland team also announced last year that it would change its name.