“It’s time for businesses and sports to eliminate Native American names, images, and mascots from their products,” said Chuck Hoskin Jr., leader of Cherokee Jr.
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February 23, 2021 5 min read
This article has been translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors can occur due to this process.
- The chief of the Cherokee community asked the Jeep Automotive Company to remove the name of his tribe from their four-wheel drive vehicles.
- The company that created the Jeep Grand Cherokee agreed to have an “open and respectful dialogue” with the indigenous leader, but Hoskin remains in his position.
When we type the word “Cherokee” into a search engine, most of the results refer to the famous Jeep brand vehicle. The same applies to other words that come from Indian languages, such as B. Apache, Pontiac and Cheyenne, which are used commercially. It is for this reason that several indigenous groups in the United States have raised their voices to give visibility to their peoples and prevent their culture and identity from becoming a consumer product.
In this regard, Chuck Hoskin Jr., chief chieftain of the Cherokee tribe, urged the Jeep automaker to stop using his community’s name for off-road vehicles. In particular, these are the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SUV models, which have had this name for 45 years.
“I think we are at a time in this country when it is time for both corporate and team sports to phase out the use of Native American names, images and mascots from their products, team jerseys and sports in general “said Hoskin Jr. in a statement.
“I’m sure you mean well, but we’re not honored to have put our name on the side of a car,” added the Cherokee leader.
We innovate so that the adventure with the brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee L never ends.
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– Jeep Mexico (@JeepMx) January 7, 2021
The company was not indifferent to the allegations and was ready to enter into a dialogue with the local representative.
“The names of our vehicles have been carefully chosen and cared for over the years to honor and celebrate the Native Americans for their nobility, craftsmanship and pride,” Jeep said in a statement. “More than ever, we are committed to an open and respectful dialogue with Cherokee Nation Chief Executive Officer Chuck Hoskin Jr.” the company added.
They ask for respect for their identity
An Indian People’s Official announced that Jeep officials had contacted the tribal chief earlier this month. However, Hoskin sees no possibility of an agreement as he considers it unacceptable for Jeep to continue to use the community name for its SUVs.
“It’s one of the most valuable things. It’s part of our identity. (…) And if we wanted to find out who has the strongest claim, the strongest connection and affinity to the Cherokee name, then it would surely be the Cherokee people, ”the indigenous boss told CNN Business.
For his part, Cobb-Greetham, a member of the Chickasaw tribe, said, “If you want to honor someone, give them an award. If you name a product, you are selling it. “
The Jeep Cherokee was launched in 1974 while the Grand Cherokee was launched in 1993. The original Cherokee range was discontinued in 2001, but the name was reintroduced on a new compact SUV in 2013. However, the Cherokee native have had this name for centuries, long before Europeans came to the United States in the 16th century.
Jeep could follow the example of other brands
The automotive company isn’t the only company that has entered into controversy with indigenous communities over the use of its symbols and language.
- Washington Redskins (Washington Redskins). In the summer of 2020, the NFL team announced that it would change its name to the Washington Football Team.
- Cleveland Indians. The Ohio-based baseball team also reported that it plans to change its name.
- Land O’Lakes. The dairy removed the image of a Native American woman from their labels.