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J.K. Rowling Is Getting Major Backlash For Her Depiction Of Native Americans

The Harry Potter author, who just released a new story on Pottermore, is being accused of colonialism and cultural appropriation.

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In the first installment of the four-part series, Rowling introduces readers to the earliest wizards and witches in North America: Native Americans skilled in animal and plant magic, who don't need wands to conjure spells. Rowling also describes skin walkers (which, according to some Native beliefs, are people who can transform into animals at will) as Native American Animagi — fictional beings of her own creation. She also includes medicine men in her narrative.

Not long after the author published the first portion of her writing on the history of magic in North America, some fans took to Twitter in outrage, accusing Rowling of colonialism and appropriation of Native American culture.

You can't just claim and take a living tradition of a marginalized people. That's straight up colonialism/appropriation @jk_rowling.

An existing culture of real people.

Now, there are a lot of invented cultures in the story and that's fine, that's fantasy, but fucking about with an existing culture?

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I'm broken hearted. Jk Rowling, my beliefs are not fantasy. If ever there was a need for diversity in YA lit it is bullish!t like this.


You must outta your mind if you think we should sit idly while a renown white author uses us as props in her fictional work.

Some pointed out the harmful impact of Rowling's story on an already misrepresented group of people.

Imagine how many Native Americans are going to be gaslit about their own culture under the guise "well in canon it's actually like this..."

because @jk_rowling has based her "native wizards" off the same racist stereotypes & miseducation that JM Barrie used in Peter Pan.


So far, Rowling has not responded to the backlash.

And Rowling joins the long, not-so-proud tradition of white women ignoring criticism from Native scholars.

BuzzFeed News has reached out to a representative for Rowling for a comment.

Susan Cheng is an entertainment reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Susan Cheng at susan.cheng@buzzfeed.com.

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