In a written statement responding to an inquiry by Car and Driver, the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation is calling on Jeep to stop using the name Cherokee on vehicles.
"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," wrote Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr., in the statement. "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."
This is the first time the Cherokee Nation has explicitly asked Jeep to stop using the name, having previously not had an official stance. "Cherokee" has been used by Jeep in some form for more than four decades. It's currently used on the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee, but the latter is about to be split into two models with the introduction of the three-row Grand Cherokee L.
Jeep responded with its own statement to Car and Driver.
"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 National Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr."
The Car and Driver story digs deeper with further comments from Hoskin, Jr., plus historical perspective from the director of the University of Oklahoma's Native Nations Center. This call from the Cherokee Nation comes in the wake of several professional sports teams announcing that they would stop using Native American names and imagery.