• J.K Rowling releases a short essay series on North American magic. But many fans feel that the series profits on cultural appropriation. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
A new four-part series on the author's website appropriates Native American culture. The series is titled 'History of North American Magic' and fans are not too happy about it.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

9 Mar 2016 - 9:56 AM  UPDATED 9 Mar 2016 - 10:00 AM

Beloved author J.K Rowling has announced "a series of new writing", however several fans are less than pleased about it, claiming the series profits on cultural appropriation.

The series, titled History of Magic in North America, takes a look at mythology from the Native American communities.

The four-part essay series will be published online on Rowling's Pottermore website everyday this week, from Tuesday March 8 through to Friday March 11, at 8am US Eastern Standard Time.

The first installment was released yesterday, and outlines a series of historical tidbits from the "Fourteenth Century to Seventeenth Century".

The first essay covers a magical shape-shifting people known as "skin walkers". Skin walkers are characters from ancient Native American folklore, that Rowling writes are "Native American Animagi".

Animagi are wizards who can transform into animals at will.

"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."

- J.K. Rowling, History of Magic in North America.

Fans have shared their dissent with the author, calling her out for appropriating and disrespecting an ancient culture that is not only not her own, but a culture that has been disenfranchised for many generations.

This isn't the first time Rowling has received criticism over the representation of race and culture in her writing. 

Several fans noted that racially-diverse characters in Harry Potter felt tokenised, and were not developed fully as characters to helped the story truly embrace diversity.

For Rowling, who is known widely for her positive stances against discrimination of race, sexual orientation, and refugees facing crisis, this reflects confusion in her approach of culture-related issues.

The series is to compliment the release of Rowling's latest wizarding film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

The film is based on Rowling's book of the same name, and she was also credited as the film's screenwriter.