Whose Name is This, Anyway?

When a car company names a car for an American Indian nation, are they honoring them? Does it matter? When the football club names their team Chiefs, are they honoring anyone? Does it matter?

When people are caught violating someone else’s boundaries, they often claim positive motives. The motivation, of course, is irrelevant. The only relevant question is, whose name is it? This is not a legal question. It is is a justice question.

Whose name is it? It is clear. The name Cherokee does not belong to Jeep. Fortunately, we are in a time when more nations are fighting to get control of the use of their names. But they need our support. It is important because names are related to identity. And one way invaders take control of people is by renaming them. They also use the original names as if they have a right to them. It is all about power. And because it is, we need to exert whatever power and influence we can to have people control the use of their own name.