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JK Rowling’s New Wizard Stories Blasted for ‘Cultural Appropriation’

Well, that didn’t take long.

Just a few hours after J.K. Rowling posted the first part of her new four-part “History of Magic in North America” series on Tuesday, the Harry Potter author has come under fire from social media users for appropriating Native American culture.

Rowling’s new series — a tie-in with the upcoming Potter-world-set movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — explores the history of the wizarding world in pre-colonial America.

The first part, titled “Fourteenth Century-Seventeenth Century,” briefly describes the legend of the Native American “skin walker,” a witch or wizard who can transform into an animal, and reveals that early Native American wizards were able to perform magic without wands.

“The Native American wizarding community was particularly gifted in animal and plant magic, its potions in particular being of a sophistication beyond much that was known in Europe,” Rowling writes. “The most glaring difference between magic practised by Native Americans and the wizards of Europe was the absence of a wand.”

Shortly after its release, Rowling was criticized on social media for cultural appropriation of the Native American experience. Cultural appropriation is generally defined as the exploitative adoption of various elements of a culture by another culture.

Rowling directly responded to one tweet, reiterating that her story takes place in a time and place separate from that of traditional Native American history.

Read the rest of the tweets below. Rowling is set to post a new part from the series each day this week at 2 p.m. on her Pottermore website.

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