|Screen cap added 3/10/16|
The first story, "Fourteenth Century - Seventeenth Century," was released on Monday, March 8, 2016. Fans were delighted to have more of her writing to read.
Native people--those who are fans of her books, and those of us who study or write about representations of Native peoples in popular culture and children's literature--had a different response.
When I (Debbie Reese) read the first story in Rowling's series, I'd been deeply immersed in a study of a handful of best selling children's books. I was appalled to read "also called redskins for their custom of smearing red earth over their entire bodies" in the popular Geronimo Stilton's The Wild, Wild West:
And I'd just read Rick Riordan's The Lost Hero where a main character's dad is Cherokee, making her half Cherokee. She's taunted by other characters who ask her if her dad is an alcoholic and if she'll do a rain dance. Riordan had those words come from what we might characterize as "mean girls." I assume he did that to, in that way, show them to be inappropriate things to say, but far too many people won't pick up on that nuance. I worry that, without a direct push-back on those taunts, people will view them as an affirmation of existing stereotypical ideas, and use those same taunts themselves.
Update: March 13: 2016
Rick Riordan submitted a comment. Thank you, Mr. Riordan, for your comment. I'm pasting it here, and will include it in my full review of your book:
Rick Riordan has left a new comment on your post "Native People Respond to Rowling":
Hi Debbie, I hadn't read this article expecting to be referenced, but thank you for your concerns. Yes, of course, I intended the insults hurled at Piper in The Lost Hero to be viewed as what they are: racist stereotyping and bullying, as something Piper had to deal with, just as Samirah in Sword of Summer has to deal with school bullies asking if she is a terrorist because she is Muslim. I hope that my readers will understand the inappropriateness of this bullying in context, especially as Piper's reality as presented in the book is so far from what those bullies say. Piper's dad is a great father and a multimillionaire movie star. The character with the alcoholic parent is in fact Piper's white boyfriend Jason, and as the son of alcoholic parents, Jason's struggle is something I can speak to. I try to do my homework and be respectful while representing the struggles each of my characters face, but of course I don't always get it right, and I value your feedback.
With The Wild Wild West and The Lost Hero as my immediate context for reading Rowling's story, I was furious. I used the f-bomb in a tweet at her. Use of the word wasn't necessary, but the emotion it expressed was real. As I read tweets by Native people, I saw a range of emotion. Anger. And hurt, too. Native people who are my daughter's age grew up reading Harry Potter. This particular group are adults now, in their 20s. She--and they--were huge fans of every book in the series.
But this short story? Their reaction to it is different. They read the first line, with its monolithic "The Native Americans" as bad, but each paragraph of that short story was laden with troubling misrepresentations of Native peoples.
Those who are following the news on this story know that major media is reporting on it, excerpting a few words from a stream of tweets, or, from a blog post. Below are links to items by Native writers. Please read and share them. I'll be adding others as I find them, arranging them chronologically by the date on which I add them. If you see others, please let me know in a comment.
Items added on March 10, 2016
March 7, 2016: "Magic in North America": The Harry Potter franchise veers too close to home by Adrienne Keene of Native Appropriations
March 7, 2016: #MagicInNorthAmerica smh as an Otoe Missouria & Choctaw woman... (series of tweets) by Johnnie Jae
March 7, 2016: So @jkrowling chose to appropriate... (series of tweets) by Aaron Paquette
March 8, 2016: Yo, @jkrowling, my ancestors... (series of tweets) by Brian Young
March 8, 2016: Obviously, I'm heated over this whole #MagicInNorthAmerica... (series of tweets) by Johnnie Jae
March 8, 2016: JK Rowling is... (series of tweets) by Native Beauty
March 9, 2016: When we say... (series by tweets) by Johnnie Jae
March 9, 2016: Magic & Marginalization: Et tu, JK? by Tate Walker on Righting Red
March 9, 2016: Why it's more than fiction by Mari Kurisato
March 9, 2016: In last 30 hours or so... (series of tweets) by Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children's Literature
March 9, 2016: J.K. Rowling on Native American Wizards - Called Skin Walkers on Pottermore Website by Vincent Shilling at Indian Country Today
March 9, 2016: J.K. Rowling Has Got Nothing on US History Textbook Fiction by Simon Moya-Smith at Indian Country Today
March 9, 2016: J.K. Rowling Gets a Howler by Robert Saxton at Robert Saxton Books
March 9, 2016: William Apess (Pequot) on Depictions of Native People in Stories by Debbie Reese of American Indians in Children's Literature
March 9, 2016: Navajo skinwalker slams JK Rowlings 'Magic in North America' series, a satirical response at Tlo'chi'iin News
March 9, 2016: When I was little... (series of tweets) by Megan Red Shirt-Shaw
March 9, 2016: My Navajo family... (series of tweets) by Jacqueline Keeler
March 10, 2016: Why it burns me by Mari Kurisato
March 10, 2016: This week in #SettlerNonsense: Fantastical Natives and Where to Find them, or, WHY JK ROWLING, WHY?! WHYYYYYYY! by Cutcha Risling Baldy
March 10, 2016: From Sandy Littletree on Facebook, comments about Navajo people and skinwalkers.
Many Native people on Twitter sent out individual, unlinked tweets. Start with the one I link to and read through the TL to find their other Rowling tweets.
March 8, 2016: Yes, it's fiction... by Martie Simmons
March 9, 2016: Skinwalkers? Really? by Jourdan B-B
March 10, 2016: My grandfather is a #MedicineMan by Pamela J. Peters
Here, I'll list media stories that, in my view, are listening to Native voices:
March 10, 2016: JK Rowling is criticised for writing web post about Native American wizards at BBC Newsbeat/Entertainment
March 10, 2016: It's Not Only a Story: Why it Matters How JK Rowling Depicts Native American History by Elizabeth Minkel in New Statesman.
Items added on March 11, 2016
March 9, 2016: We Aren't Magic, We Are Real by Fox Spears at Robohontas
March 11, 2016: I think I'm finally ready... (series of tweets) by Dia Lacina
March 11, 20016: So, I read the 4th installment... (series of tweets) by Johnnie Jae
Items added on March 13, 2016
March 9, 2016: Hey Indigenous authors... (series of tweets) by Aaron Paquette
March 9, 2016: My family fought an 8-year battle... (series of tweets by Darcie Little Badger)
March 11, 2016: Adrienne Keene calls J.K. Rowling's new series a slap in the face Interview at Rosanna Deerchild's Unreserved on CBC Radio
March 11, 2016: #NotNorthAmericanMagic hashtag started by Sheena Roetman @sheenalouise
March 13, 2016: Exactly why Rowling... (series of tweets) by Adrienne Keene
Items added on March 14, 2016
March 13, 2016: Indigenous stories and non-Indigenous writers: some reflections on respect and process by Ambelin Kwaymullina at ALPHA reader
March 14, 2016: JK Rowling Lifts Indigenous Traditions But Ignores History by Aaron Paquette at Ottawa Citizen
Items added on March 15, 2016
March 15, 2016: Did JK Rowling Change the Images on her Magic in North America page at Pottermore? by Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature.
March 15, 2016: On Native America Calling, Native People Respond to Jason Aaron's Scalped and JK Rowling's Magic in North America
March 15, 2016: It's Like Muggles Writing About Wizards audio recording from Native America Calling with guests, Lee Francis and Tate Walker.
Items added on March 16, 2016
March 14, 2016: Harry Potter and the Magic Indians by Marty Two Bulls at Indian Country Today.
Items added on March 17, 2016
March 9, 2016: Pottermore is just more disappointment by Rebecca Roanhorse at Writing While Indigenous/Writing While Black
March 16, 2016: Dear J.K. Rowling: Wakanyeja Video Response to History of #MagicInNorthAmerica by Tate Walker and her daughter, Mimi, at Righting Red.
Items added on March 31, 2016
March 18, 2016: What JK Rowling's New Story Can Teach Us about Cultural Appropriation at Huffington Post
March 20, 2016: Imagine Otherwise, a Storify by Daniel Heath Justice
March 21, 2016: Pro tips for SF/Fantasy Writers Interested in "Native" Themes..., a Storify by Daniel Heath Justice
March 22, 2016: The Stream - Reimagining Native Americans in the Arts (video) featuring Adrienne Keene, Stephen Graham Jones, Skawennati, and Elizabeth LaPensée.
Items added on July 3, 2016
"No surprise that Warren, who made false claims to Native identity, want in on Rowling's new story." (series of tweets) by Debbie Reese on Twitter.
Friday, July 1, 2016: Pottermore problems: Scholars and writers call on J.K. Rowling's North American magic by Paula Young Lee at Salon.
Friday, July 1, 2016: Dear JK Rowling: We're Still Here by Loralee Sepsey at Natives in America.
Items added on July 11, 2016
July 8, 2016: J.K. Rowling's Ilvermorny School draws criticism from Indigenous fans by Stephanie Cram at CBC News Aboriginal, includes cites Loralee Sepsey and Adrienne Keene.
July 11, 2016: A Native writer who tweets from @CyborgN8VMari has been blocked by JK Rowling (I've used a red arrow and box to highlight the blocked notice):