Jeep Draws Cherokee Chief's Disapproval

Company 'does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2021 4:37 AM CST
Updated Feb 23, 2021 6:50 AM CST
Jeep, Change the Name 'Cherokee,' Says Tribe's Chief
In this Aug. 22, 2019 file photo, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr., speaks during a news conference in Tahlequah, Okla. T   (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

For the first time since Jeep began using the name "Cherokee" for some of its vehicles in the 1970s, the Cherokee Nation is asking the car company to stop. "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., chief of the Oklahoma-based tribe, says in a statement cited by the Guardian. A rep for Jeep's parent company has not commented on whether a name change will be considered, but says the name Cherokee was chosen carefully and has been "nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride."

But Hoskin notes that's not the way to honor or celebrate indigenous people, and adds, "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." Car and Driver, which first reported the news, notes that Jeep also uses the name Mojave, the name of another Native American tribe. Jeep says it's "committed to a respectful and open dialogue" with Hoskin, CNN reports. But Hoskin tells the network, "It's one of the most valuable things. It's a part of our identity. And if we wanted to match up who had the stronger claim and connection and affinity for the Cherokee name it would certainly be the Cherokee people." (More Cherokee Nation stories.)

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