J.K Rowling, author of the hugely successful Harry Potter series has released a 4 part short story on “Magic in North America” as a run-up to the new movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Rowling introduced the series ‘Magic in North America’ on her official website Pottermore, saying the stories “would give you some idea of how the wizarding world on this continent evolved over the years”.
One story will release each day at 2PM (GMT) till Friday, March 11th. The first one was released yesterday (March 8th) and was a fictional narrative about magic practised in native American communities. She writes, in the episode titled ‘Fourteenth Century-Seventeenth Century’, “The most glaring difference between magic practised by Native Americans and the wizards of Europe was the absence of a wand.”
“In the Native American community, some witches and wizards were accepted and even lauded within their tribes, gaining reputations for healing as medicine men, or outstanding hunters. However, others were stigmatised for their beliefs, often on the basis that they were possessed by malevolent spirits.”
Potter fans were expected to sink their teeth into this expansion of the wizarding world but Native Americans have slammed the author and have accused her of cultural misappropriation.
Rowling writes, “The legend of the Native American ‘skin walker’ – an evil witch or wizard that can transform into an animal at will – has its basis in fact. A legend grew up around the Native American Animagi, that they had sacrificed close family members to gain their powers of transformation.” Dr Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations , who is a post-doctoral fellow in Native American studies at Brown University tweeted,
Other fans were also not impressed:
Debbie Reese, of the Nambe Owingeh tribe, called Rowling’s writing a “misrepresentation” of the culture. Another one accused Rowling of her lack of respect.
Rowling has not commented on the matter. The next piece in the “Magic in North America” series will be released today on Pottermore.com.