This has always bothered me: corporations who take existing proper names and trademark them. Today, I've chosen the transportation industry to be my whipping boy.
- More than 40 years ago a recreational vehicle was made that really defined RVs for years to come. It decided to take the name from the midwestern Ho-Chunk Native Americans who were at one time called the Winnebago (also where we get the name for Winnipeg).
- In 1974, Jeep decided to name their new SUV after another North American Tribe called the Cherokee.
- Two years ago, GMC rolled out their new SUV adopting the name of the oldest French Canadian colony: Acadia.
- Volkswagon used the same method in choosing the name for their 2003 SUV, this time going to the north African Tuareg people for the Touareg.
You may think that I'm being too sensitive. My reason for offense is that these corporations really have no right to copyright a people group's name and heritage. Names are important. If the first thing you think of when you hear the word "Cherokee" is a Jeep SUV, then the Cherokee have lost a part of their distinction as a culture.
You may be in the minority in knowing who the Tuareg or Winnebago are and think I'm off my rocker. What if you were Tuareg and whenever someone asked you who you were they would say "Oh, like the VW?"
I, being of Acadian descent, feel wronged that GMC has taken a word that makes up a part of my identity and has no connection to the General Motors Corporation in order to make a familiar sounding product name that will forever be associated with Acadia.
A search of "Acadia" in Google yields the following results today:
- Acadia University (an anglophone university in Nova Scotia)
- an entry in Wikipedia on the colony of Acadia
- GMC Acadia
- Association for Computer Aided Design In Architecture
- History of Champlain in Acadia
- an entry in the Canadian Encyclopedia
- an association of five First Nation reserves in Nova Scotia
- and finally Acadia Pharmaceuticals
*we know that individuals' names are protected - Ford can't call their next vehicle the "Michael Jackson" or the "Barack Obama"