The leader of the Cherokee Nation has asked Jeep to stop using the tribe’s name on its sport-utility vehicles.
Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. wants the company to rename its top-selling SUVs under the Grand Cherokee and Cherokee brand names out of respect for the tribe and its rich history.
“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. 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,” Hoskin said in a written statement to Car and Driver magazine.
Jeep has sold SUVs under the Cherokee brand name since 1974. The company issued the following response:
“Our 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 … Hoskin.”
Hoskin said he could not see any sort of agreement that would be acceptable to him that would allow Jeep to continue using the tribe’s name on its vehicles.
“It’s one of the most valuable things. It’s a part of our identity,” he said in an interview with CNN Business. “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.”
Hoskin further defended his position to the Detroit Free Press, stating in an interview: “Our proud name should not be a corporate marketing tool. Our name dates back to before recorded history. It’s against all odds that we are even here. Our name is invaluable to us as part of our identity.”
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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