Let’s talk about that.
Keen readers will know that Jeep has been building vehicles with the Cherokee name for more than 45 years. However, the American automaker has been facing increasing pressure to drop the callsign following its reintroduction to the U.S. market in 2013. As such, Car and Driver talked about the issue at length in a recent article.
“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,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, after Car and Driver reached out for comment.
Gallery: 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L
We’d be remiss not to mention that over the past eight years following the reintroduction of the name into Jeep’s lineup, the Cherokee Nation has never explicitly said that Jeep should change the car’s name until recently. Currently, the American automaker is facing increasing pressure to make a change next to the release of the latest Grand Cherokee.
“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,” said Hoskin.
While the automotive world could be seen as a niche market for such changes, we’ve seen swift action in the world of sports with the MLB and NFL; Cleveland’s pro baseball team swiftly dropped its nickname and mascot. Even before the MLB rebadge, Washington changed its name to the Washington Football Team before the 2020-2021 season had even started.
Regardless, Jeep responded with the claim that the names on its cars were intended to honor and celebrate the Native American tribes, and noted that the brand is committed to a respectful and open dialogue going forwards. It was reported that representatives from the American automaker had reached out to Chief Hoskin via phone, but the nation’s stance remains unchanged.