Children’s author and artist Aaron Paquette of the Cree nation says famed British author JK Rowling is “introducing millions and millions of young readers to this bastardized version of Indigenous culture”.
"She's using things that are sacred beliefs and just turning them into a commercial endeavour for herself,” he says, referring to the book’s comparison of ‘skin walkers’ (a Navajo term for people who can turn into animals) and ‘Animagi’ – a shape-shifting group of witches and wizards.
Paquette told Canada’s Radio Active, "You're going to introduce people to an actual, living, breathing culture that the government tried to destroy and that is being held onto and that is threatened.”
“These are marginalised people. It's a marginalised culture. If you're going to introduce people to it, why not show the proper respect?"
Paquette says the use of the term ‘magic’ to describe traditional beliefs is offensive and believes Rowling represents North American Indigenous peoples as one homogeneous group, rather than take into account their diversity of cultures and practices.
"She's basically lumping together indigenous cultures. There's 500 distinct indigenous nations here and she's just calling it the Native American community. It strips people of their identity."
"It's great to have an entry point, but if the entry point is as flawed and twisted as this, it will likely do more harm than good."