One Who Waits, portrayed by Floyd Red Crow Westerman, is the indian spirit who visites Ed to look for his parents.
A Lakota (Dakota)
Red Crow Westerman has not only been an embodiment of Native
American spirit on screen, but also a fierce advocate of Native
American rights off screen as a leader in the North American Indian
Movement. Born in 1936 at the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota Sioux reservation
in South Dakota, Westerman's career includes being a highly regarded
country-folk singer. His concerts and songwriting collaborations
have included Jackson Browne, Willie Nelson, Joni Mitchell, Kris
Kristofferson, and Buffy Sainte-Marie. He toured with Sting once to publicize the plight of the rainforest tribes that are dying out along with the rainforests.
He made his film debut
in Renegades playing "Red Crow," the Lakota Sioux father
of Lou Diamond Phillips. He followed that with the role of the
"Shaman" to Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors,
and with a key role as "Ten Bears" in Dances with
Wolves. He also appeared in Hidalgo and Tilamook Treasure. His television roles have included playing "Uncle
Ray" on Walker, Texas Ranger, and "One Who
Waits" on Northern Exposure. A published author
his books include This Land is Your Mother. (From What
A Character Bio). He also was in the movie Naturally
Native with fellow NoEx guest star Kimberly
Before film work and music, he earned a degree in secondary education from Northern State University in South Dakota. Westerman was a recognized political advocate for Native American causes, working at times with the American Indian Movement. In 2000, American Indian Expo named Westerman celebrity of the year.
From 2003-2007, Westerman appeared in a number of television advertisements for "Lakota" brand topical pain reliever, often wearing traditional Native dress.
Westerman died at 5:00 a.m. PST on December 13, 2007 at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after an extended illness and complications from leukemia.