J.K.Rowling

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9780132977609_p0_v3_s192x300.jpgFor all readers interested in wizards and wizardry,  J.K. Rowling has recently posted to her Pottermore website the first of a four-part series on wizards and Native American culture.

The mock-academic collection explores unexplored corners of the wizarding world.  It takes the reader into the lives of Native American witches, their history and their magic.

Unfortunately, some Native Americans find that the writing exploits and distorts their culture.  Based on her research and not just her imagination, Rowling did include the Navajo legend of “skin walker” in her series.  According to Native American Animagi legend, skin walkers were evil witches or wizard that can transform into an animal at will.  “Skin walkers,” according to tribal members did assume “animal forms to escape persecution or to hunt for the tribe.”

Adrienne Keene, a Cherokee writer, says “Rowling recklessly misinterprets a tradition that still has real meaning to many.”

Here is an excerpt from Part I of her series.  Judge for yourself.

“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. 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.”

 

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