The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the brand’s best-selling model, while the Jeep Cherokee is its third best-selling. Jeep recently unveiled a redesigned version of the Grand Cherokee, and the company has sold SUVs under the Cherokee brand name for about 45 years.
"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. 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," Chuck Hoskin, Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, said in a written statement.
He had initially sent the statement to Car and Driver, which first reported on the news.
"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 said in a statement. "We are, more than ever, committed to a respectful and open dialogue with Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr."
For his part, Hoskin said he could not see any sort of arrangement under which it would be acceptable to him for Jeep to continue using the tribe’s name on its vehicles.