I’m re-blogging this excellent post about JK Rowling’s inappropriate use of Native American symbols in her recent book and upcoming movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is set in North America (at least in part).
The blogger is Loralee Sepsey, Owens Valley Paiute from the Big Pine Paiute Reservation in California. She is currently studying English, Education, and Native American Studies at Stanford University.
In comparing Rowling’s use of Native and Western historical figures, Sepsey observes:
Do we not deserve respectful representation? Are we allowed to exist without some white woman claiming our mythology and our history and our culture as her own invention? Because we never saw her do this to British history or Christianity in the Harry Potter series. Jesus never showed up as a professor at Hogwarts. The whale that swallowed Jonah wasn’t residing in the lake. Voldemort was uniquely Voldemort, not the literal incarnation of Lucifer.
In short, you wont find Jesus incorporated into Rowling’s tales as a professor at Hogwarts because Rowling has respect for Jesus’s actual historical role in our culture and she’s not about to appropriate him and re-write his bio. But for Native American characters, she takes them freely and completely re-works them. It’s all about respect.