Wichita State men’s basketball player Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler is half Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe and grew up on a reservation in Pine Ridge, South Dakota.
His last name is pronounced exactly how it looks.
During the Shockers’ Monday 55-43 victory over Grand Canyon University, CBS Sports broadcasters Chris Walker and Chick Hernandez took some liberties and joked about that pronunciation.
“So it’s okay to make fun of my last name?” Poor Bear-Chandler wrote on Twitter. “Just shows your ability to be serious in a professional setting. Just because my people was almost colonized doesn’t mean I don’t know where I come from!”
So it’s okay to make fun of my last name? Just shows your ability to be serious in a professional setting. Just because my people was almost colonized doesn’t mean I don’t know where I come from! #WeAreStillHere #WildOglala #TeachHim https://t.co/P36LTJhmLb
— Isaiah Poor Bear ( POOR BA-RE) (@Big_I35) November 21, 2022
Following Poor Bear-Chandler’s tweet, Wichita State athletics made a statement Tuesday addressing the “inappropriate and insensitive comments.”
“Who got that offensive rebound? I don’t even want to say it. I’ll let you say his name because I want to be sure. Is it ‘Pooh Bear?’ Come on you got to be kidding me,” Walker said on the broadcast.
Hernandez seemingly attempted to clarify that Poor Bear-Chandler’s name has cultural significance while still mispronouncing it.
“Isaiah ‘Pooh Bear’ Chandler is 50% Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe, so he chose to use ‘Pooh Bear’ on his jersey,” he said.
“You know what, I love that. Shoutout to Coach Isaac Brown for allowing it to happen,” Walker responded, before doing a bit where he compared the athlete to Winnie the Pooh.
The fifth-year big man was the backup center on Wichita State's 2021 AAC regular season title-winning team and has returned to the Shockers after a one-year stint at Omaha.
Wichita State’s statement mentions that Walker and Hernandez have since made “apologetic efforts” in-person and on-air.
According to the statement, “Isaiah strongly desires for this unfortunate event to serve as a positive learning opportunity in support of the indigenous community.” He illustrated this by retweeting several educational posts.
In many cases, Native children forced into residential schools had their names translated to English, turned into their surnames, and given an English first name. So when you hear a last name like Poor Bear, respect how those surnames were created—from survivors. https://t.co/ANyhFhZKmu
— Charlie (@crimelinespod) November 22, 2022