The chief of the Cherokee Nation tribe in the United States wants various brands to stop using Native American names and imagery.
2021 is supposed to be an important year for American auto giant Jeep. It is set to release the next-generation model of its Grand Cherokee. But blindsiding Jeep was Chuck Hoskin Jr, the chief of the Cherokee Nation tribe that wants the auto giant to drop the ‘Cherokee’ name from its car brands.
Jeep has been using the ‘Cherokee’ name for over five decades now. Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are the two most popular and sold SUVs for the Stellantis-owned company.
“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," said Hoskin Jr to Car and Driver. "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."
The development comes at a time when brands are increasingly looking at themselves over connections to the misappropriation of Native American names and imagery.
On February 9, 2021, PepsiCo announced that Quaker Oats had rebranded its Aunt Jemima line of pancake mixes and syrups as ‘The Pearl Milling Company’. As per The New York Times, “The Aunt Jemima character has roots in a 19th-century minstrel song that expressed nostalgia for the antebellum South. (A period in the history of the southern US from the late 18th century until the start of the American Civil War in 1861. Slavery was dominant during this time.)
Last year (2020), Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL) dropped its last name and played the season as Washington Football Team. Cleveland Indians from the Major League Baseball (MLB) said it will also change its name.