Cherokee Nation asks Jeep to 'retire' name of SUV

Cherokee Nation asks Jeep to ‘retire’ iconic name of SUV, says it ‘does not honor us by having our name plastered on the side of a car’

  • Principal chief Chuck Hoskin Jr has asked the parent firm of Jeep, Stellantis, to change the name, saying ‘he does not condone’ the use of the Cherokee name
  • Stellantis has not responded to the calls to retire the Jeep Cherokee name
  • The name was dormant for several years before being revived in 2013
  • Native American nicknames in professional sports, such as the Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians, are being phased out for those teams 

The Cherokee Nation said Monday it has asked for its tribal name to be removed as a nameplate from Jeep sport utility vehicles and called for a dialogue with the automaker on ‘cultural appropriateness.’

The Native American group’s principal chief Chuck Hoskin Jr told Jeep’s parent firm Stellantis ‘he does not condone’ the use of the name Cherokee on the vehicles, according to a statement.

Hoskin made the comments last month in response to an inquiry from Car & Driver and subsequently held a Zoom call with representatives from the automaker who had contacted him, the group said.

Principal chief Chuck Hostin Jr. is calling for Jeep to make a name change to their cars

‘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,’ Hoskin said in his initial statement.

‘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.

‘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.’

The news comes with growing momentum to remove Native American names and images from sports teams in the United States, which many now see as demeaning to the indigenous peoples.

Jeep has been using the Cherokee name for their SUVs on-and-off since the 1970s

Stellantis, the new name for Jeep’s corporate parent following the merger of Fiat Chrysler and France’s PSA, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Stellantis spokesperson Kristin Starnes told The Guardian the vehicle name has been ‘nurtured over the years to honor and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride.’

Jeep has been using the Cherokee name since the 1970s but stopped using it for several years before reviving it in 2013.

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder in 2020, many organizations have reflected on names and mascots with racist implications.

Cherokee Nation says it’s time to ‘retire use of Native American names, images and mascots’

Aunt Jemima recently changed its name to the Pearl Milling Company and Uncle Ben’s has transitioned into Ben’s Original.

In terms of Native American sports mascots, the Washington Redskins dropped their logo and and have renamed themselves Washington Football Team.

The Cleveland Indians retired their Chief Wahoo logo at the end of the 2018 season and announced the coming season will be their last with the Indians nickname.

The Atlanta Braves have so far resisted calls to change their name or prevent fans from doing the ‘tomahawk chop’ tradition.

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