The meaning behind the Mohegan Tribe-inspired creative
On Thursday, April 8, Nike and the WNBA officially unveiled the Nike WNBA uniform collection. The Connecticut Sun and the 11 additional WNBA teams each received a specifically designed set of uniforms. The collection includes three editions – the WNBA Nike Heroine Edition, the WNBA Nike Explorer Edition and the WNBA Nike Rebel Edition.
Nike collaborated with the Connecticut Sun front office as well as members of the Mohegan Tribe to refine the details of each uniform which embrace the rich history and symbolism of the Mohegan Tribe.
“We were very pleased with the entire uniform design process,” said Kathy Regan-Pyne, Recording Secretary of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “Nike demonstrated their commitment to getting it right, they consulted and worked with us as a team. Members of the Tribal Council and Council of Elders, our Chief and our Medicine Woman were all involved in some fashion. It was a collaborative effort we all absolutely love the end result.”
Each Connecticut Sun Nike uniform incorporates tradition, symbolism and the ideology of being one with nature; all important components of the Mohegan Tribal culture. Also featured on the jersey is the new logo of the Connecticut Sun. On January 17, 2021 the Sun revealed an updated version of its secondary logo which now serves as the primary look for the Sun. The logo was derived from an old Mohegan symbol.
The WNBA/Connecticut Sun Nike Heroine Edition (White)
This uniform design was inspired by power, courage, sophistication as well as the Mohegan Tribe’s symbol of the rising sun.
Some key points to note:
– The trim represents the old Mohegan symbol first painted on bark and traditional baskets.
– The center dot on the symbol represents the spiritual life force. The 13 dots around the life force represents the Mohegan creation story – the 13 sections on Grandfather Turtle’s back where earth was created.
– The Sun’s secondary logo is displayed on the belt buckle for the first time.
The WNBA/Connecticut Sun Nike Explorer Edition (Orange)
This uniform design was inspired by the transition from sun to moon —by groundbreakers, storytellers and exploration without boundaries.
Some key points to note:
– The 13 dots in the Mohegan symbol on the trim signify the 13 moons of the lunar year which represent the passage of time. It also shows the Mohegan people are 13 generations removed from their first chief, Uncas.
The WNBA/Connecticut Sun Rebel Edition (Blue)
The most notable uniform of the collection is the new WNBA/Connecticut Sun Nike Rebel Edition. This uniform is representative and inspired by Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Mohegan’s Medicine Woman, who lived to 106. Not only was she the tribe’s medicine woman, she was an anthropologist, an author, tribal council member and an Elder within the Mohegan Tribe. Gladys was an inspiration to women around the state of Connecticut as well as throughout Indian Country. This uniform is influenced by a woman who fought for social justice, who stood tall for other women and advocated for all women. This uniform is unapologetic.
Some key notes about the uniform:
– The WNBA/Connecticut Sun Nike Rebel Edition is royal blue which represents Gladys’ blue regalia.
– The neckline represents the canoes the Tribe used to travel along the Massapequataug River.
– The trim showcases the ups and downs of life, as life is not linear. It also represents the rolling hills of the Tribe’s homeland.
– The dots on the trim of the shorts represent the people and those met along the life trail.
– The front of the jersey says Keesusk – Sun in the Mohegan language.
“Gladys Tantaquidgeon embodied the spirit of the Mohegan people unlike anyone else,” said Beth Regan “Morning Deer”, Vice Chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders. “She was dedicated to serving and elevating her people. Along with her father and brother, she founded the Tantaquidgeon Museum, the oldest Indian owned and operated museum in the country. She was a teacher, Medicine woman, Tribal Councilor and Nonner (Elder woman of respect).
“An advocate for social justice, Gladys fought for her Mohegan people by supporting traditional Mohegan religion, preserving our homelands and mother earth, saving traditional ceremonies and passing on our stories. She promoted social justice for all people of color, fighting for Civil Rights in addition to advocating for and working with imprisoned women, offering hope and courage to those with little. She is an inspiration to me to always walk the life trails with Mohegan good medicine in my heart and spirit.”
Both WNBA/Connecticut Sun Nike Explorer and Rebel Editions will be available for purchase on April 14. For more information on the Connecticut Sun, to purchase a replica jersey or to buy tickets, visit connecticutsun.com.