Harry Potter Author Offends Native American Scholars With New Story


The first story of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling’s new “History of Magic in North America” series has offended some indigenous scholars and members of Native American communities. The story, which chronicles wizards from the 14th to the 17th centuries, was criticized for lumping all Native Americans into one group, appropriating their stories and “completely re-writing these traditions,” in the words of Cherokee scholar-blogger Adrienne Keene.

In Rowling’s story, published on the Pottermore website, wizards existed among Native American tribes, though some faced the same scrutiny and stigmatization as their European peers. Some were “skin walkers,” people who could change into animal form, like the Animagi in Rowling’s Harry Potter novels. “It’s not ‘your’ world. It’s our (real) Native world. And skin walker stories have context, roots, and reality,” Keene wrote.

Navajo writer Brian Young added: “My ancestors didn’t survive colonization so you could use our culture as a convenient prop.”

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