The Cherokee Nation says it’s time for Jeep to put a new nameplate on its crossovers, according to a new report. While the two parties have communicated about the name before, but this is the first time that the Nation has asked the automaker to change it.
“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 Car and Driver in a written statement. “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.”
Jeep has been using the Cherokee name since 1974, when it originated as a two-door Jeep Wagoneer. The Jeep Grand Cherokee, which went on sale in 1993, has become one of Jeep’s most successful models, most recently adding a not yet on sale three-row model. The badge has also been used on smaller crossovers since 1984.
When Jeep brought the Cherokee name back to its compact crossover in North America in 2013, a Cherokee Nation representative told the New York Times that “we are really opposed to stereotypes,” adding that “it would have been nice for them to have consulted us in the very least.” At the time, the spokesperson said that “institutionally, the tribe does not have a stance on [Jeep changing the name].”
That’s changed since, and C/D says that Chief Hostin’s statement “alluded to the mainstreaming of racial justice concepts following the Black Lives Matter protests last summer,” as well as sports teams including Cleveland’s Major League Baseball franchise and Washington D.C.’s National Football League team announcing they would change their names and mascots.
Jeep’s reply, said C/D, was that “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.”