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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 3 March 2021

Cherokee Nation chief urges Jeep to stop using tribe's name on cars: 'It does not honour us'

In response, a spokesperson for the carmaker said the name was 'nurtured over the years to honour and celebrate Native Americans'

Cherokee Nation principal chief Chuck Hoskin Jr says it's time for auto maker Jeep to stop using the tribe's name on its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models. AP
Cherokee Nation principal chief Chuck Hoskin Jr says it's time for auto maker Jeep to stop using the tribe's name on its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models. AP

It is time for Jeep to stop using the Cherokee Nation's name on its Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUVs, says the chief of the Oklahoma tribe.

Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr said in a statement first reported by Car & Driver magazine that he believes corporations and sports teams should stop using Native American names, images and mascots as nicknames or on their products.

“I’m sure this comes from a place that is well-intended, but it does not honour us by having our name plastered on the side of a car," Hoskin said.

(FILES) In this file photo s new Jeep Cherokee makes its way over obstacles during a media conference at the New York International Auto show March 27, 2013 in New York. On February 22 the Cherokee Nation said 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 asked Jeep's parent firm Stellantis "he does not condone" the use of the name Cherokee on the vehicles, according to a statement. / AFP / Don EMMERT
A Jeep Cherokee makes its way over obstacles during a media conference at the New York International Auto show in 2013. AFP

Kristin Starnes, a spokeswoman for Jeep’s parent company, Stellantis, headquartered in Amsterdam, said that the vehicle name was carefully selected “and nurtured over the years to honour and celebrate Native American people for their nobility, prowess and pride".

She didn't say whether the company was considering renaming the vehicles and didn't immediately reply to an email requesting that information.

Hoskin says the best way to honour the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, tribe is to learn more about its history.

“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 recognised tribes on cultural appropriateness," Hoskin said.

The controversy comes amid a national reckoning over the use of Native American names and images, particularly in sports.

After years of resistance and under pressure from corporate sponsors, the NFL's Washington, DC franchise announced last year that it was dropping its “Redskins” nickname and Indian head logo and would go by the name Washington Football Team until a permanent replacement was chosen.

Major League Baseball's Cleveland Indians also announced last year that it would change its name.

Updated: February 23, 2021 11:00 AM

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