Jamake Highwater

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Jamake Highwater (ca. 1942–June 3, 2001) was an American writer and journalist. He was the author of over 30 fiction and non-fiction books of music, art, poetry and history, including Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey (1973), The Sun, He Dies: A Novel About the End of the Aztec World (1980), and The Primal Mind: Vision and Reality in Indian America (1981). He also wrote for the New Grove Dictionary of American Music and The Los Angeles Free Press.

Highwater was born Jay Marks, an Armenian adopted by a Greek family. Later he changed his name and claimed American Indian ancestry.[citation needed]

Highwater was a runner-up for the 1978 Newbery Medal for Anpao.[1]

His claims of Native ancestry were heavily disputed by actual American Indian activists, who argued his works were inauthentic and stereotypical and that he received federal grant money illegally. Columnist Jack Anderson also wrote an expose of Highwater/Marks.[2]

He died at home in Los Angeles on June 3, 2001.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Jamake Highwater, American Indian Author", The New York Times, June 16, 2001.
  2. ^ Anderson, Jack (February 16, 1984). "A Fabricated Indian?". Washington Post. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kratzert, M. "Native American Literature: Expanding the Canon," Collection Building, Vol. 17, 1, 1998, p. 4.

External links[edit]