Jamake Highwater, born on February 14th, around 1932, was a remarkably prolific writer, art critic, and anthropologist. He not only wrote young adult novels, but also books on theater, literature, mythology, architecture, photography, dance, and music. He was placed in an orphanage as a young boy, from which he was adopted at age seven. He grew up in California, given the adoptive name of Jay Marks, attended college in Los Angeles, and formed the San Francisco Contemporary Dancers in 1954. In 1967, he moved to New York and formed the Contemporary Dancers with Karlheinz Stockhausen, about whom he wrote an article, “Conversations with Stockhausen,” published in Saturday Review.
He credited that first published work with moving him from a career in dance to a career in writing. His book, Anpao, received a Newbery Honor in 1978. Although there is much controversy about his native identity, anthropologist Ashley Montagu said that, “Highwater’s many books on Native American culture are without equal, providing the most influential body of work about American Indians in the second half of the 20th-Century.”
Highwater died in 2001..