Image of a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit. The leader of the Cherokee Nation said last week he wants the company to stop using the name. Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler
Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The Cherokee Nation wants Jeep to change the name of its popular vehicles named after the Native Americans, Principal Chief Chuck Hoskins Jr. said.
Hoskins said it is the time for the automobile company to end using the name, after the NFL team in Washington and Cleveland's Major League baseball team decided to end their use of Native American names.
"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," Hoskins told Car and Driver magazine. "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."
Jeep said in a statement it was "committed to a respectful and open dialogue" with Hoskins about the name.
"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," Rick Deneau, a spokesman for Stellantis, the parent company of the Jeep brand, said.
Jeep, which has used the Cherokee name since the 1970s, is on the verge of launching a new series of the Grand Cherokee L this year.
The Cherokee Nation, based in Oklahoma, is the largest Native American tribe in the country with 385,000 members. Originally located in the southeastern United States, the nation was forced to relocate to Oklahoma in 1838.