‘Pan’ and the Amazing Technicolor Natives

First things first: Pan — opening in U.S. theaters this weekend — is a colorful, action-packed PG-13 reimagining  of the origins of Peter Pan and his relationships with and to Captain Hook, Tiger Lily, and Neverland as we know them through J.M. Barrie’s play and novel and their myriad subsequent Broadway, Disney, and Hollywood (re)interpretations.

My daughters, ages 11 and 6, enjoyed the film, and the 6-year-old, who often asks to leave the theater during intense or “scary” action sequences, made it through with only a bit of parental ear-covering during loud bits. The world-building and -design and the effects were beautiful and well-done, with visual call-backs to many fantasy, science fiction, and action films that parents will recognize fondly (the Mad Max films and Avatar being just an example) and original effects like giant bubbles of water containing aquatic life floating in the sky that I will remember for a while. But it’s the twists, and the questions and consequences they bring up, that I want to talk about now. So from here on in, SPOILERS AHEAD.

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An Open Letter to J.K. Rowling about the American Wizarding School in Fantastic Beasts

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Native Appropriations

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I am unabashedly a huge Harry Potter fan. I first encountered Harry when I was in Junior High, volunteering at the public library (nerd status, I know). The children’s librarian handed me book one, and I was hooked. I even used to frequent Harry Potter message boards back in the day with my friend Kathleen (we were “Parvati” and “Lavender” cause we also shared an interest in divination, ha). Anyway, all this is to say, Harry holds a sacred spot in my heart. But I’m not one of those fans who can recite things verbatim, or remember every tiny detail, so if I’m missing something, I hope one of those fans will help me out.

I’ve been interestedly following the news that there is a new Harry Potter prequel-of-sorts in the works, for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, following “magizoologist” Newt Scamander. I hadn’t been following it closely, but a few days ago, I saw your exchanges on Twitter about the name/location of the American Wizarding School — and I started to get a bit concerned.

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Why “Fix” Tiger Lily? Why Can’t We Just Let Her Go?

by Dr. Adrienne Keene | Originally posted at Indian Country Today

On Thursday night, NBC aired their Peter Pan Live! event, a highly publicized three-hour-plus live performance starring Allison Williams as a weirdly sexualized little boy who doesn’t want to grow up. Tucked among the many press releases for the event was the information that the role of Tiger Lily would be played by Alanna Saunders, who is a “descendant of members of the Cherokee Nation.” OK.

Additionally, the show promised us they changed the offensive “Ugg-a-Wug” song to something culturally “authentic” and appropriate. They even hired a Native composer, Chickasaw Jerod Impichchaachaaha’ Tate, to consult on the “improved” “Ugg-a-Wug,” causing National Museum of the American Indian director Kevin Gover to praise the production for being, “closer to our heritage, our culture and portrays a deeper sensitivity and helps diminish the many stereotypes surrounding Native Americans.”

I’m going to hope that he said all that before he saw the costume or the number. Because the costume. Oh the costume. Vegas showgirl-meets-Halloween-pocahottie-flapper.

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