Late last month, Jeep found itself caught up in a bit of an online frenzy. A Car and Driver report stated that the Cherokee Nation wants the automaker to drop the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee nameplates, citing cultural appropriation of the long mistreated sovereign nation. And while there were plenty of arguments being made on both sides of the issues, a new report from Automotive News has shined new light on the automakers response.
To put it bluntly, Jeep has no intention of dropping one of its most iconic nameplates.
Automotive News sat down to speak with principal chief of the Cherokee Nation Chuck Hoskin, Jr. to discuss the matter in more detail. The tribal leader noted that this online showdown isn’t the first time that Jeep has been in contact with the Cherokee Nation regarding this subject, and that the two had plans to institute an educational program for then-FCA employees last summer. That said, this program never came to fruition. After FCA merged with PSA to create Stellantis, the two groups were in talks once again. This time however, it wasn’t Jeep who started the dialogue. Instead, these talks involved the Cherokee Nation’s goal to have their name removed from Jeep products.
This meeting took place after Car and Driver had spoken to the tribe, but Hoskin noted he never intended for this to become a public issue.
“We don’t go out across America’s cultural landscape [looking] for things that offend us and speak out on it,” Hoskin told Automotive News. “What happened in this case is Car and Driver reached out for comment.”
Hoskin further noted that regardless of his people’s feelings on the matter, Stellantis “respectfully declined” to ditch the Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee nameplates at this time. He did note however that the automaker has left the door open for further discussion, as has the tribe. Whether or not anything more comes of this fiasco will have to be seen.
It’s not difficult to see where the Cherokee Nation is coming from, especially now that it’s clear that this was never intended to be a public discussion. That said, it’s a big ask for Jeep to abandon nameplates they’ve used for 50 years at this point. Either way, we hope that the two parties can find some sort of middle ground moving forwards. Perhaps reigniting that educational program is a good first step for the automaker, at least as a sign of good faith.