May
14

Guest Post: Marianne de Pierres on Nate Sixkiller

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When Tor.com reviewed Peacemaker, apart from praising its pacing, themes, narrative, and characters, it also started a conversation on the origins of Nate’s surname, Sixkiller. Over to Marianne, for more on the origins of Sixkiller:

Nate Sixkiller

It’s always fascinating to hear how authors conceive the names in their stories, and I wrote a lengthy piece about my process over at Sons of Corax. In PEACEMAKER, one of the main characters is called Nate Sixkiller. His name, in particular, has prompted some discussion, so Caroline (Angry Robot’s divine publicist) invited me to share the background on it.

When I was researching the book, I came upon the biography of a Native American lawman by the name of Sam Sixkiller. He was, according to what I read, a famous, respected, and slightly feared gentleman whose name is attributed to his great grandfather having killed six men.

In Chris Enss’s book Sam Sixkiller, he quotes secondary sources that give an idea of the man’s legacy:

The Indian Journal editor noted “the Captain [Sixkiller] has done probably more than any one person to free the railroad towns of this Territory of their dangerous and reckless elements, and to him the country owes a great degree the comparative security to life and property that it now enjoys.” In a report made to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, Indian agent Robert L. Owen commended Captain Sixkiller noting that “he died a martyr to the cause of law and order and had the respect and confidence of all the decent people in the country particularly of men like Honorable Isaac C. Parker, U.S. Judge of this district….”

When I was in the early days of planning the series, I’d blogged about the project, and a relative of Sam Sixkiller’s contacted me and offered biographical help. This was a wonderful gesture on their part, but, ultimately, my stories are fiction, and I didn’t wish to make any inappropriate connection with the real man.

However, Sixkiller is such an evocative and truly Western surname, I felt compelled to borrow it!

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

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Categories : AR Authors, Guest Posts

2 Comments

1

When I was settling the estate of an old friend, Anne Braude, I came across some papers about the life of one of her maternal ancestors. He was never a lawman, but held an astonishing number of different jobs and lived all over the upper Midwest and West during the last quarter of the 19th Century. Family legend had him serving as a translator at the surrender of Crazy Horse, but some of the records make that claim dubious. However, he was apparently living on the same post as Crazy Horse, working as a trading post clerk, when Crazy Horse was killed.

His name? Tom Savage. Damn, you couldn’t make up a better name for a Western character if you tried.

2
Marianne de Pierres
May 20th, 2014 at 9:49 am

Hi Bruce, how fascinating! Thank you so much for sharing that story. I agree; Tom Savage is a great name for a character in a Western.
best
Marianne de P

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