The head of the Cherokee Nation wants Jeep Cherokees to be a thing of the past.
Chuck Hoskin Jr. says the tribe would like the line’s name changed.
“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, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, told Car and Driver.
“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.”
Hoskin, who couldn’t be reached, noted that a number of companies and organizations have changed names in recent months following Black Lives Matter protests in 2020.
“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,” he said.
The statement appears to mark the first time the nation has pushed for Jeep to stop using the Cherokee name.
Stellantis, the result of a recent merger between Groupe PSA and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, owns Jeep.
A spokesperson told news outlets: “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 Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr.”
According to the Stellantis website, the Jeep brand, which it says is “the authentic SUV brand since 1941,” is available in over 140 countries.
Several lines within the brand, including the new Grand Cherokee L, include the word Cherokee. The lines feature vehicles that have the word emblazoned on the side.
Cherokee Nation describes itself as the country’s largest tribal government, boasting more than 380,000 tribal citizens. The sovereign government is based in Oklahoma, with citizens strewn across the country.
Hoskin was elected as principal chief in 2019, after serving as the nation’s secretary of state.