The Cherokee Nation Wants Jeep® To Get Rid Of Its Iconic Nameplate:

Native American Tribe Tells Car and Driver It Wants Jeep To Stop...

In a recent article from Car and Driver magazine, the automobile magazine is reporting that the Cherokee Nation is asking the Jeep® to stop using the “Cherokee” nameplate across its lineup of award-winning sport utility vehicles (SUVs). It comes as the Jeep brand is getting ready to launch its all-new Grand Cherokee (WL) models, kicking off with the highly-anticipated three-row Grand Cherokee L, next month.

2021 Jeep® Grand Cherokee L Overland. (Jeep).

“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, told Car and Driver in a written statement. “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.”

2021 Jeep® Cherokee Limited. (Jeep).

According to the article, a representative of the Cherokee Nation said that until recently it had been several years since it had any communication from Jeep regarding the name. The Cherokee Nation has made comments several times on the record over the use of the nameplate since its returned to the North American Jeep lineup after a 12-year hiatus in 2013.

1978 Jeep® Cherokee Chief (SJ) 4x4. (Jeep).
1978 Jeep® Cherokee Chief (SJ) 4×4. (Jeep).

Since 1974, the Jeep brand has been producing SUVs wearing the Cherokee nameplate. Originally launched on the Jeep (SJ) platform which also underpinned the legendary Wagoneer, the two-door Cherokee proved to be a popular sporty version of the successful SJ. The popular model featured several special edition models including the Golden Hawk, Golden Eagle, and Chief models. It wasn’t until 1977 when the nameplate was then offered on a four-door model.

In 1984, American Motors Corporation invested $250 million to redesign the Jeep Cherokee as a smaller, more advanced SUV based on the all-new Jeep XJ platform. The 1984 Jeep Cherokee was a revolutionary vehicle. Being 21-inches shorter, 6-inches narrower, 4-inches lower, and 1,000 lbs. lighter than the full-size Wagoneer (SJ). It was built on a revolutionary unibody platform instead of a traditional chassis-and-frame. The XJ models proven enduringly popular with 4×4 enthusiasts for their off-road capability and wide availability of aftermarket modifications.

1998 Jeep® Cherokee (XJ) Limited 4x4. (Jeep).
1998 Jeep® Cherokee (XJ) Limited 4×4. (Jeep).

The XJ went on to sell around 3 million vehicles worldwide from 1984 to 2001. It was produced for several markets around the globe and proved to be quite popular in places like Europe, the Middle-East, and China. Production of the vehicle ended up going until 2014 under Beijing Auto Works, with the Cherokee being named the BAW Qishi 骑士 (Knight in Chinese).

The Jeep Grand Cherokee, a larger midsize SUV offering hit the market in 1992 as a 1993 model. It would ultimately replace the long-running Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer (SJ) models that went into production in 1963. The Grand Cherokee nameplate has become the most-awarded line of SUVs ever and become one of the automaker’s most successful lines.

1993 Jeep® Grand Cherokee (ZJ) Laredo 4x4. (Jeep).
1993 Jeep® Grand Cherokee (ZJ) Laredo 4×4. (Jeep).

After the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001, the Jeep brand pulled the Cherokee nameplate from the North American market in favor of the more patriotic “Liberty” nameplate. The Liberty (KJ) and its predecessor the (KK), continued to wear the Cherokee name proudly around the rest of the globe. Despite the patriotic new name to the midsized Jeep offering, more people recognized the old Cherokee name. So it was no surprise that Jeep re-introduced the Cherokee nameplate into the North American market in 2013 with the launch of the Jeep Cherokee (KL), the first front-wheel-drive-based offering for the beloved nameplate.

Export 2004 Jeep® Cherokee (KJ) Renegade 4x4. (Jeep).
Export 2004 Jeep® Cherokee (KJ) Renegade 4×4. (Jeep).

Hoskin also touched on the mainstreaming of racial justice after last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests and the recent major league sports teams making decisions like the Major League Baseball (MLB) team of the Cleveland Indians would drop the Indians name after the 2021 season and the decision to drop the Redskins name from the National Football League’s (NFL) Washington D.C. franchise, which is now called the “Washington Football Team”.

Export 2008 Jeep® Cherokee (KK) Limited 4x4. (Jeep).
Export 2008 Jeep® Cherokee (KK) Limited 4×4. (Jeep).

What is your opinion on the Cherokee Nation’s push for the ending of the iconic Cherokee and Grand Cherokee nameplates? Post your answers below, the MoparInsiders.com forums, or the WLJeepForum.com forums. We would like to hear your thoughts.




Robert S. Miller

Robert S. Miller is a diehard Mopar enthusiast who lives and breathes all that is Mopar. The Michigander is not only the Editor for MoparInsiders.com, 5thGenRams.com, and HDRams.com but an automotive photographer. He is an avid fan of offshore powerboat racing, which he travels the country to take part in.

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How about you idiots stop infringing on Jeeps long standing trademark. You can call yourself the Ridgeline nation.

Reply 3 Likes

I'm okay with getting rid of the Cherokee name.
Grand Cherokee can become ''Jeep Grand''
Heck even ''Grand Wrangler''.

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I'm okay with getting rid of the Cherokee name.
Grand Cherokee can become ''Jeep Grand''
Heck even ''Grand Wrangler''.

Neither of which makes sense. "Grand" WHAT? and It bears zero relationship to Wrangler.

Reply 2 Likes

I think the Indians need to STFU and be glad we didn't wipe their butts out, LIKE WE SHOULD HAVE. It's time for them to come into the 21st century and join us. Instead, they insist on continuing to live in abject poverty because it's "protecting their heritage" or somesuch. Puhleeze.

Let's hope that whoever is in charge at Jeep has the balls to reject this. GM would have already caved. Ford, I dunno. Jeep... let's hope they stand firm.

Reply 2 Likes

Look, my father attended an "Indian" school through the eight grade. Despite the abject poverty of the reservation community, he was able go transfer to a vocational school and then into an apprenticeship with a well respected (at that time) company. He served his country for four years in the US Army and after being discharged continued to work for our defense working under military and aerospace contracts, for that same employer which trained him during his apprenticeship. He wasn't a rocket scientist, he was an electrical designer who happened to report to real rocket scientists on a few NASA projects.

This binary thinking of us versus them, not seeing the other's humanity will bring down our nation, and by nation I mean the USA. Don't worry about others who are different, police your own community. I home schooled my children so I could pass on the Christian heritage of my family and church to the next generation. I work with people of many different backgrounds and faiths and even some non-theists. The one thing I see disappearing from our culture is the concept of grace. It is part of all the major religions and it involves the idea that no one is perfect, especially ones own self. We all need forgiveness and so we extend grace to others because we ourselves received it.

There is no place for that kind of disrespect in these forums. It is sad that Jeep is being singled out, but it is also understandable. Someone wants to erase history because a free nation needs a common collective memory.

Reply 5 Likes

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