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WNBA team’s new uniforms honor Mohegan Tribe

This new Connecticut Sun uniform has “Keesusk” on the front, which is the Mohegan word for sun. (Courtesy Connecticut Sun)

The Connecticut Sun will wear uniforms that pay tribute to the culture and history of the WNBA team’s owner.

The Sun are owned by the Mohegan Tribe and play home games at the tribe’s casino resort in Uncasville, Connecticut. The three editions of uniforms, unveiled April 8, were made by Nike.

“We were very pleased with the entire uniform design process,” Kathy Regan-Pyne, recording secretary of the Mohegan Tribal Council, said in a statement. “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.”

The uniforms incorporate “tradition, symbolism and the ideology of being one with nature; all important components of the Mohegan Tribal culture,” according to a release. The team’s new primary logo, which debuted in January, was derived from an old Mohegan symbol.

One of the new uniforms, known as the “rebel edition,” honors Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Mohegan’s medicine woman who was also an anthropologist, author, tribal council member and Elder. She lived in three different centuries and earned admiration from within the tribe and outside of it for her dedication to several causes. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and received honorary doctorates from the University of Connecticut and Yale University. Born in 1899, she passed in 2005 at age 106.

“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,” said Beth Regan “Morning Deer”, vice chairwoman of the Mohegan Tribal Council of Elders. “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.”

According to the team, specific details of the royal blue uniform include:
– 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 has the word “Keesusk,” which means sun in the Mohegan language.

Aspects of the other uniform designs include a spiritual life force symbol and 13 dots on the “heroine edition” that represent the Mohegan creation and the sections of Grandfather Turtle’s back where earth was created. The “explorer edition” also features 13 dots, which represent 13 moons of the lunar year and that the Mohegan people are 13 generations removed from their first chief, Uncas.

The uniforms are scheduled to be available for purchase starting April 14 at connecticutsun.com.

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Kevin Johnson
Kevin Johnson is senior editor. He has worked for The Seminole Tribune since 2014. He was previously an editor, photographer and reporter for newspapers in Southwest Florida and Connecticut. He also worked for more than a decade in management and public relations for a hockey program in New England that produced several college and NHL players. Contact Kevin at kevinjohnson@semtribe.com.
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