Oklahoma-based Cherokee Nation Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. believes it’s time for corporations and sports teams to stop using Native American names. And that includes Jeep’s Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models.
In a statement reported by Car & Driver magazine, Hoskin said “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.”
Amsterdam-based Stellantis, Jeep’s parent company, issued a statement saying that the vehicle model’s name was carefully chosen “and nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride.” Spokeswoman Kristin Starnes hasn’t said whether the company was considering renaming the popular SUVs.
It’s the latest example in a series of controversies regarding the use of Native American likeness with corporations and, in particular, sports teams.
The NFL’s team from Washington replaced its “Redskins” nickname and logo entering the 2020 season. The franchise is known as “Washington Football Team” for now. Baseball’s Cleveland Indians have also announced plans to change their name and logo.
Hoskin suggests the best way to honor the tribe “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.”