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Scholars and writers call foul on J.K. Rowling’s North American magic

A few months ago, when J.K. Rowling released “A History of Magic in North America” on the Pottermore website, Native critics, scholars, readers and writers voiced their concerns with her appropriation of living traditions cherished by Native peoples.


Rowling’s silence presaged the cringe-worthy content of “Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” the latest instalment in the unfurling backstory of the North American wizarding school. It’s the 17th-century story of Isolt Sayre, a magical Irish lass who sails with the Puritans on the Mayflower to land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Running away to the mountains, she finds a magical sidekick—a Pukwudgie she promptly names William—only to stumble across three young white colonial settlers in various states of distress, and ends up co-founding a magic school with them. “Pukwudgie” becomes one of the four houses at Ilvermorny, each of which is named after a magic totem animal. You can now go onto the Pottermore site and take a quiz t…

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