Friday, July 15, 2022

Guest Post with B.L. Blanchard - The Peacekeeper

Photo Content from B.L. Blanchard

B.L. Blanchard is a graduate of the UC Davis creative writing honors program and was a writing fellow at Boston University School of Law. She is a lawyer and enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. She is originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan but has lived in California for so long that she can no longer handle cold weather, and resides in San Diego with her husband and two daughters. THE PEACEKEEPER is her debut novel.


1. One image inspired the alternate world
I was inspired to create the city of Shikaakwa when I had an image of a high-rise building with a dreamcatcher built into it like a stained-glass cathedral window. From there, I spent the next year-plus thinking about what a never-colonized North America might look like in the 21st century. And it all came from that image (which appears in the book as the equivalent of the courthouse).

2. The map functions as a prologue
The first thing the reader sees when they open the book is a map of North America in this alternate universe, with an inset for the Great Lakes nation where the novel takes place. That is by design. The reader is being told 500 years of backstory in a single page.

3. No timekeeping as we recognize it
If you look closely, there is not a single reference to a measurement of time: no minutes, hours, seconds, etc. While a year is set by the earth’s revolution around the sun, and a day is one rotation of the earth, everything else is a construct. I was never able to find a consensus on pre-Columbian timekeeping systems in my research, nor was I comfortable inventing one, so there are none.

4. Lacrosse is Indian sport
Lacrosse is based on a game, baaga’adowewin, that has been played by the Anishinaabe and other Native tribes for almost a thousand years.

5. Frybread is an anachronism
Frybread is a flatbread made out of flour, salt, and sugar fried in lard. These ingredients were rations given to Native communities by the US government following removal. It is a food borne of colonization and a staple of many communities. That’s true in The Peacekeeper as well. This is an anachronism, as I think it is unlikely that frybread would exist in this world. But, it’s so intertwined in our communities that it felt wrong not to include it.

6. The Mongolian restaurant is real
In one scene, the characters eat dinner at a Mongolian restaurant in downtown Shikaakwa, which has both Mongolian and Anishinaabe ingredients available. The restaurant is based on a real place, Golden Bowls, a Mongolian barbecue restaurant in Sacramento, which has always been one of my favorites.

7. Justice system based on Navajo peacemaker courts
The criminal justice system is very different from the one we know in the western world. Crimes are resolved by mediation, not trial, and making the victim whole is the goal. The victim, not the accused, is the focal point. This is inspired in part by the way most civil cases are resolved in the United States, as well as the peacemaking system used by the Navajo nation.

8. A world without borders
While different tribes and nations have their own territory, there are no definite borders in this alternate world. Nations are people, not land, and long after the nations are gone, the land will remain. No one can claim to draw a circle around a piece of land and claim to own it.

9. The village of Baawitigong crosses international borders in our world
Baawitigong is the original name for what we know as the cities of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. In our world, the St. Mary’s river divides the United States and Canada. In the book, and in Anishinaabe tradition, it is one unified location.

10. Extinct animals survived in this alternate timeline
The passenger pigeon, called the omiimii in Anishinaabemowin, was hunted to extinction in the late 19th century. In the world of the book, they never were, and flocks so large they black out the sky are featured.

Against the backdrop of a never-colonized North America, a broken Ojibwe detective embarks on an emotional and twisting journey toward solving two murders, rediscovering family, and finding himself.

North America was never colonized. The United States and Canada don’t exist. The Great Lakes are surrounded by an independent Ojibwe nation. And in the village of Baawitigong, a Peacekeeper confronts his devastating past.

Twenty years ago to the day, Chibenashi’s mother was murdered and his father confessed. Ever since, caring for his still-traumatized younger sister has been Chibenashi’s privilege and penance. Now, on the same night of the Manoomin harvest, another woman is slain. His mother’s best friend. The leads to a seemingly impossible connection take Chibenashi far from the only world he’s ever known.

The major city of Shikaakwa is home to the victim’s cruelly estranged family—and to two people Chibenashi never wanted to see again: his imprisoned father and the lover who broke his heart. As the questions mount, the answers will change his and his sister’s lives forever. Because Chibenashi is about to discover that everything about those lives has been a lie.
You can purchase The Peacekeeper at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you B.L. BLANCHARD for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Peacekeeper by B.L. Blanchard.

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