Frank Waters

Mystic, ethnologist, and author Frank Waters ranks as Western literature's renaissance man. Waters's life spanned virtually the whole of the twentieth century, from the administration of Teddy Roosevelt to that of Bill Clinton. Like the work of scholar-novelist Rudolfo Anaya, Waters's work in fiction and ethnology is vision-centered. His Book of the Hopi traces the roots of today's southwestern Indians in the ruins of the vanished Anasazi. A native of Colorado, Waters drew a spiritual connection from mountains, whether those of his Rocky Mountain boyhood, the snow capped Sangre de Christos of his summer home in Taos, New Mexico, or the rugged, dusty ranges surrounding his Winter home in Tucson, Arizona. He had a powerful bond with the Native tribes he wrote about for fifty years, despite the discouragement of publishers who told him repeatedly throughout the 1930s and 1940s that Americans did not want to read about Indians. In 1995, Waters died at the age of 93 years.
"The great difference between the Indian conception of the environment--that is, the land and the world of Nature--and the English-American-Anglo view --is that land, the Earth, is just inanimate Nature to be exploited at will for our benefit. TheIndian viewpoint is that the Earth is a living entity and must be respected and protected. So what we're learning is what the Indian has always known; how to respect the Earth instead of ruining it--because we know that by ruining the Earth, destroying Nature, we're destroying ourselves. We're too a part of Nature."
-Frank Waters

Click here to hear an excerpt on Frank Waters from Writing the Southwest.

Listen to the half-hour documentary on Frank Waters by David Dunaway below: