There’s no doubt that cultural sensibilities have changed a great deal in recent years. Among the points of contention that are being addressed are the number of uses of Native American names and caricatures that are considered insensitive and only serve to further the stereotypes and institutional racism that have been examined as a part of CRT (Critical Race Theory). Using names such as “Indians” and “Redskins” has been considered discriminatory, leading to several brands changing their names and adhering to the objections raised by many tribal organizations. Among those that have caused controversy is Jeep’s insistence that they not change the name of their popular SUV, the Cherokee, to something else more agreeable to the general public.
At Sheridan Jeep, a dealer based in Columbus, Ohio, that specializes in used Jeeps for sale, there has been a fair amount of protests from the local representatives of the Manducareguano tribe. Chief Kicking Donkey has assembled several members of his tribal council to voice their discontent regarding Jeep’s refusal to change the name of the Cherokee and acknowledge the cultural appropriation of tribal languages. Chad Robinson, the owner of Sheridan Jeep, has formed a focus group of individuals to come together and address the problem head-on.
“Inclusion is an important issue that Jeep has always believed in,” Robinson said the other day. “I’ve assembled a team of the smartest people in the area to determine whether or not the use of the name ‘Cherokee’ is offensive and inappropriate. Because this is a point of contention among tribal elders, I have decided to form a team of white males aged 25 to 40 to discuss the issue…seeing that this is a problem regarding equality, I feel that having a separate but equal group of people tackle this issue will be in the best interests of the people who rely on Jeep for their transportation and the tribal councils.”
The focus group, which met yesterday, was more than willing to share their findings, and we spoke to a few of the members to gauge their appraisal of the situation as a whole. “It’s just a name,” Michael McDuggan, 36, told us. “I don’t get what the big deal is. They have one of the best SUVs on the market named after them. They should be stoked that an American institution like Jeep would even consider doing something like that.” Sam Zippo, an unemployed insurance adjuster, mirrored the reaction from McDuggan, “Look, I’m not offended by the name. If I’m not offended by the fact that Jeep chose the name ‘Cherokee’ for one of their vehicles, I certainly don’t see how anyone could be.”
Robinson was very candid about the discussions that took place during the focus group. “We all met around 9:00 AM over a batch of mayonnaise sandwiches on wonder bread, and we talked at length about the potential of how and why the Jeep Cherokee would be considered inappropriate. As a group of white, heterosexual men between the ages of 25 and 40, we determined that naming an SUV after an Indian tribe is OK,” he exclaimed.
“I polled every member of the group, and I asked if anyone was offended or felt it was culturally insensitive to do so, and the result that we all agreed upon was that it’s perfectly fine and that if someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to shop at Sheridan or even purchase a Jeep for that matter,” said Robinson “But, just to show that I sympathize with the plight of the less fortunate, I’m prepared to throw in a free air freshener with any Jeep purchased by the Manducareguano tribe. I’m not a monster.”