Many teams Using Native American names and symbols, Connecticut Sun added them to the jersey as a way to respect the heritage of the team’s tribal owners.
On Thursday, the WNBA announced three new looks for each of the 12 teams as part of the league’s 25th anniversary. The jersey is designed to reflect the story of the “women’s archetype” in each team’s community.
The Sun is owned by the Mohegan tribe and plays games at the Mohegan Sun Arena, which is part of a casino resort on the tribal land.
Chief Many Hearts Linmarerva said it was important for the Mohegans to determine the image associated with the tribe and team.
“Jerseys are important because of the sheer amount of cultural appropriation and lack of understanding of what it really means to be native in this country,” she said. “We own this story. This is our story and only we can tell it.”
Each of the team’s three appearances contains references to the tribe, including the Mohegan symbol first painted on the bark and traditional baskets hundreds of years ago. The 13 dots of the mark have several implications for the tribe, including the 13 satellites of the year and the 13 sections of the turtle shell, whose Mother Earth was created according to the beliefs of the tribe.
One jersey honors Gladistan Takijon, a former medical woman from a tribe who died in 2005 at the age of 106. She was an anthropologist, writer, member of the tribal council, and tribal elder.
“Women in our tribe have always played a very important leadership role,” said Beth “Morning Deer” Regan, Vice-Chairman and Justice of the Mohegan Tribal Elders Council. “And, like our most admired former women’s tribal leaders, we see our women’s basketball team as leaders of social justice.”
The jersey is now blue, the regalia color that Tan Taki John wore, and the neckline contains an image of a once-used tribal canoe. In front of the jersey is the Mohegan word for the sun, Kiesask.
Nike came up with the idea for the collection and collaborated with Connecticut Sun’s front office and tribal officials on the details.
“This was a true collaboration with the Tribal Council, our elders, chiefs, and our medical women. They all had some opinion on this,” Regan said. It was.
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