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Old 03-09-2016, 04:28 PM   #1
Itzhecatl
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JK Rowling under fire for writing about 'Native American wizards'

View full article at: JK Rowling under fire for writing about 'Native American wizards' | Books | The Guardian


JK Rowling has been accused of appropriating the “living tradition of a marginalised people” by writing about the Navajo legend of the skinwalker in a new story.

The Harry Potter author posted the first part of a four-part series, the History of Magic in North America on her website Pottermore, on Tuesday. Subsequent episodes are being published each day at 2pm until Friday. Tying in to the release in November of the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the short piece of writing deals with the magical New World in the 14th to 17th centuries.

Although the new insights into the universe of Harry Potter were welcomed by many, the author was strongly criticised online by a number of voices from Native American communities, particularly over her writing about skinwalkers, which in Navajo legend are said to be evil witches or wizards who can take on the form of animals.

Rowling writes that the myth “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. In fact, the majority of Animagi assumed animal forms to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe. Such derogatory rumours often originated with No-Maj medicine men, who were sometimes faking magical powers themselves, and fearful of exposure.”


New JK Rowling story History of Magic in North America depicts Native American wizards
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Responding to a question on Twitter, Rowling said that “in my wizarding world, there were no skinwalkers”, with the legend created by those without magic “to demonise wizards”.

But campaigner Dr Adrienne Keene told Rowling on Twitter that “it’s not ‘your’ world. It’s our (real) Native world. And skinwalker stories have context, roots, and reality … You can’t just claim and take a living tradition of a marginalised people. That’s straight up colonialism/appropriation.”

The academic also took issue with Rowling’s use of the phrase “the Native American community”, saying that “one of the largest fights in the world of representations is to recognise Native peoples and communities and cultures are diverse, complex, and vastly different from one another.”
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