Author Topic: Who was Jamake Highwater?  (Read 4098 times)


  • Guest
Who was Jamake Highwater?
« on: July 12, 2012, 04:35:16 pm »
He died 3 Jun 2001, but much of his inaccurate autobiography is still repeated as if it was fact.

For anyone researching him, here are some key records:

According to the Social Security Death Index (SSDI) Jamake Highwater was born 14 Feb 1931.

According to the California Birth Index 1905 - 1995 (abstracts of birth certificates) Jackie Marks was born 14 Feb 1931 Los Angeles county CA. His mother's maiden name was Turetz.

What Is The California Birth Index?
The California Birth Index, or CABI, is a database that stores records of births in California from 1905 to 1995. The CABI was compiled by the California Office of Health Information and Research. The records are not stored in the form of birth certificates, but rather abstracts of birth certificates.

Also note:

Adopted persons may or may not be listed in the CABI. Additionally, the way they are listed varies. They could be listed under their birth names, adopted names, or both.

So this birth record doesn't tell us whether Jackie Marks was adopted (as he claimed) or not. But it does give us a birth date and other leads.

« Last Edit: August 12, 2012, 10:24:13 pm by Epiphany »


  • Guest
Re: Who was Jamake Highwater?
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2017, 06:03:16 am »
Adams credits his friend, Joe DeLaCruz, Quinalt activist and President of NCAI in 1984, who said this when he booted Highwater out of the organization:

This person is not an Indian, has no personal or professional experience or academic expertise regarding Indians, has falsely held himself forth as an Indian and an Indian expert, has claimed academic credentials he does not possess and has published under his own name extremely derivative materials from the works of others. Importantly, this person has invented and repeated stereotypic and biased information about Indians.

Fool’s Gold: The Story of Jamake Highwater, the Fake Indian Who Won’t Die

Offline Sparks

  • Posts: 1270
Re: Who was Jamake Highwater?
« Reply #2 on: June 24, 2022, 10:43:14 pm »
Fool’s Gold: The Story of Jamake Highwater, the Fake Indian Who Won’t Die

An updated version of this article is available here:

Mentions in the NAFPS forum:

When Deloria was asked about the popularity of Castenada’s writings, his answer was short and succinct. "Jamake Highwater, Lynn Andrews and Castenada are all of the same genre. Their writing is interesting, but it has nothing to do with Indians." He paused, took a sip of water from a glass, then continued, "It’s about what white people think Indians should be."

I found this forum several years ago.  A professor of mine showed the class a video featuring 'Jamake Highwater' in which he was waxing poetic about his Native Spirituality.  ::)  I smelled something fishy, so my research led me here.

This is old news for many people, almost 30 years ago. STV used an exploiter and imposter, exposed a decade earlier, as their consulant for the Nuage "Indian" Chakotay.

Enter Jamake Highwater. This man had written several books on being a Cherokee and had hosted multiple TV documentaries on the subject as well. Voyager took him on to advise them on how to write Chakotay. He didn't offer very good advice, says consensus. Chakotay's constant babbling about mysticism and spirit guides annoyed viewers, annoyed the actor, and was eventually dropped in later seasons.

Finally, there is a Wikipedia article with lots of links: