Cherokee Chief asks Jeep no longer to use tribe’s name
Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Native American Cherokee Nation, has asked Jeep no longer to use the tribe’s historical name for its products. Jeep launched the Cherokee model in 1974 for the first time, and today, the Grand Cherokee is its best-selling model.
Jeep said in a statement to be “committed to a respectful and open dialogue with Cherokee Nation”. But the Chief, who doesn’t believe Jeep will change the name suddenly, sees no possible ‘financial’ agreement for his people to allow Jeep to continue to use the name. “It’s one of the most valuable things. It’s a part of our Identity,” Hoskin said in an interview with CNN.
First time asked explicitly
It’s the first time the Cherokee ask Jeep explicitly to drop the name on their cars. Since Jeep reintroduced the Cherokee as such back in 2013 after eight years of absence, the Cherokee had brought up the subject of misuse of their name on several occasions already.
It was the American car magazine Car and Driver that belled the cat now by asking Chief Hoskin to comment in light of the redesigned Grand Cherokee’s launch. Earlier, several sports clubs, like the Cleveland Indians baseball team and the Washington football team Redskins, changed their names and logos under the pressure of sponsors and action groups.
“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,” Jeep, now part of the Stellantis Group with FCA and PSA, said in a statement.
“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 told the car magazine in a reply. “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.”
Largest Cherokee tribe
Today, the Cherokee Nation is one of three existing Cherokee tribes, and with 300 000 people, the largest of 567 recognized Native American tribes in the United States. Originally, the tribe lived mostly along mountainous river valleys in southwestern North Carolina and southeastern Tennessee.
Today, most live in Oklahoma, where the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (UKB) both have their headquarters in Tahlequah, in Cherokee County.
About the origin of the name ‘Cherokee’, though, there are many theories, but none proved. One of them is that it was derived from how other Indian tribes like the Choctaw called “the people who live in the mountains”, sounding like Cha-la-kee.