Cherokee Nation Chief Asks Jeep to Stop Using Tribe’s Name on Cars: ‘It Does Not Honor Us’

In this April 2015 file photo, Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles are on a sales lot in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Cherokee Nation is asking Jeep to stop using the tribe’s name on its vehicles, Car and Driver Magazine reported Saturday.

“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, told the magazine in a statement.

“The best way to honor 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,” he said.

Jeep has been making cars bearing the Cherokee Nation’s name for over 45 years, the article continued:

In that time, the company has gone on the record several times defending its decision to use the name of a Native American nation on its cars. Over the past eight years, since the reintroduction of the Cherokee nameplate to the U.S. market in 2013, the Cherokee Nation has gone on the record, too, but it had never explicitly said that Jeep should change the cars’ names.

Hoskin said he believes “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.”

In response, Jeep said its 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.,” the statement read.

Meanwhile, pressure is growing for the Kansas City Chiefs to stop using a popular tradition in which fans break into a “war chant” while making a chopping hand motion mimicking the Native American tomahawk, the Associated Press (AP) reported February 7.

“Fans of the Chiefs long ago adopted the chanting and arm movement symbolizing the brandishing of a tomahawk that began at Florida State University in the 1980s,” the article read.

The Chicago Blackhawks, on the other hand, have remained committed to keeping their name despite pressure from activists, according to a December 2020 report.

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