Phoenix Suns Honor Native American Heritage Month
November 18, 2022
The Phoenix Suns honored all 22 tribal nations in Ariz. on Nov. 16, in recognition of Native American Heritage Month, by debuting a new “City Edition” turquoise jersey. Intricate Native designs adorn the new jersey that pays homage to all of Ariz.’s tribes. Programming for the game also featured highlights of Ariz.’s tribes through their “Originativ” campaign.
Deviating from the traditional Suns purple and orange colors, the new jersey features the word for ‘sun’ in each tribal language embedded along the side. It also features a medicine wheel at the bottom of the jersey.
For the first game, The Phoenix Suns featured a pregame blessing song performed by members of GRIC, a Native American performance took place before tipoff by Indigenous Enterprise, and Originativ displays running throughout the game featuring Native graphics and designs.
“In coordination with our Gila River Resorts & Casinos, tonight the Phoenix Suns are debuting a beautiful turquoise jersey to honor Native American Heritage Month for everyone here, nationwide, and for the world to see,” said Gov. Lewis.
He added, “The jersey and tonight’s event were made possible through coordination with all parties from Cahokia Socialtech + Artspace, NABI, the 22 tribes, Phoenix Indian Center, and more. We all came together to ensure these jerseys were designed respectfully and used our own tribal artists to showcase this [jersey] here at the Footprint Center, which sits on the traditional homelands of our Akimel O’otham and Pee Posh.”
Cahokia Socialtech + Artspace collaborators, including co-founder Eunique Yazzie, Jeremy Arviso, and Paul Molina, spearheaded the development of Originativ designs for the game. Their designs streaked across every LED panel in the arena that night, donning the turquoise theme featuring Native designs.
Cahokia’s partnership with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona led to the collaboration with the Phoenix Suns Organization.
“It was very serendipitous how it [Originativ] all came together, and I’m very happy that we could all bring something to the table in that space,” said Yazzie. “Also seeing people learn more about our tribal communities through our work was really exciting to see throughout the night.”
The Phoenix Suns organization also revealed a new wall display inside the arena that features the flags and seals of all 22 tribal communities from Ariz.
The display was sponsored by NABI and Gila River Resorts & Casinos.
“To have representation here, when our Native American people and youth walk in this arena, in a great way, we’re reclaiming our place, and the Phoenix Suns are acknowledging that and celebrating it too,” said NABI President GinaMarie Scarpa.