It has never been requested, until now.
The Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are American SUV icons with well-deserved reputations for off-roading and daily driving purposes. Jeep recently introduced the 2021 Grand Cherokee L three-row variant for hopefully even greater market share. But not all Americans are pleased with these SUVs, though it has nothing to do with any reliability or mechanical issues. No, some take issue with the Cherokee nameplate itself.
Car and Driver reports that, for the first time ever, the Cherokee Nation has requested for Jeep to rename both SUVs. Jeep has been using the Cherokee name for the past 45 years and the Cherokee Nation believes now is the right time to end this.
"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," said the principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, Chuck Hoskin, Jr. "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."
Hoskin also referred to other recent branding changes, such as the Cleveland Indians baseball team's decision to change its name and mascot, and the Washington Redskins football team's plan to do the same. Last season, it simply called itself the Washington Football Team. "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," Chief Hoskin added.
Jeep previously used Comanche, another Native American tribe originating from the Great Plains, for a pickup truck and also currently uses Mojave as a trim name for its current Gladiator truck. The Mojave tribe is originally from the Mojave Desert.
Jeep is well aware of the Cherokee Nation's request and said in response to the story that its "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 Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr."
The Cherokee Nation has acknowledged Jeep attempted to reach out earlier this month but its position on the issue remains steadfast.