Thomas King was born to Robert Elvin King, a Cherokee Indian from Oklahoma, and Katheryn Konsonlas King, a Greek American. His father left the family when Thomas was five, and he and his brother, Christopher, were raised by their mother in Roseville, California. Upon graduation from Roseville High School, King worked at odd jobs, including those of ambulance driver and gambling croupier. He attended Sacramento State College from 1961 to 1962 and Sierra Junior College from 1962 to 1964, after which he worked his way to Australia and New Zealand and was employed there as a photojournalist. He returned to the United States in 1967 and took a job as a draftsman at Boeing Aircraft in Seattle. The following year he enrolled at California State College, Chico, because his mother had gone there. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English. That year he married Kristine Adams. They had a son, Christian, in 1971.
At that point, King embarked upon a series of academic jobs, beginning as a counselor for American Indian students at the University of Utah and soon moving up to director of the new Native Studies Department. While working at Utah, he obtained an M.A. in English from his undergraduate alma mater in Chico. In 1973 he moved on to Humboldt State University in Arcata, California, where he was an associate dean for student services.
In 1977 King returned to the University of Utah, to work as coordinator of the History of the Indians of the...
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