Native American Fans Hurt Over Portrayal in New Harry Potter Story

'I'm broken hearted…my beliefs are not fantasy'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2016 6:54 PM CST
Native American Fans Hurt Over Portrayal in New Harry Potter Story
JK Rowling is being accused of cultural appropriation over her newest entry in the "Harry Potter" universe.   (Photo by Dan Hallman/Invision/AP, File)

Native American Harry Potter fans are feeling hurt, betrayed, and angry over JK Rowling's newest entry to her magical universe. History of Magic in North America: Fourteenth Century-Seventeenth Century was published online this week and focuses on Native American wizards, the Guardian reports. According to Mashable, the short story describes how Native American wizards are experts in magic relating to plants and animals. They're also great with potions and can often turn into animals at will. Rowling discusses the Navajo belief in skin-walkers, people who take on the forms of animals, but replaces it with her own concept of "Animagi," saying skin-walkers were "derogatory rumors" started by non-magical people.

The story has led to accusations of colonialism and cultural appropriation from Native American readers and others, BuzzFeed reports. "I'm broken hearted," one fan tweets. "JK Rowling, my beliefs are not fantasy." "Thanks to [Rowling], hordes of non-native adults and kids are going to completely misunderstand and assume they are experts on Native Americans," tweets another. Adrienne Keene writes on Native Appropriations that the story is exacerbating the problem of Native Americans often being seen in a fantasy or magical context. "But we’re not magical creatures, we’re contemporary peoples who are still here and still practice our spiritual traditions, traditions that are not akin to a completely imaginary wizarding world (as badass as that wizarding world is)," she says. (More Harry Potter stories.)

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