By Dennis Cassinelli
Starting on page 42 of Legends of Spirit Cave, the story concentrates on the Pyramid Lake experience. The clan from the Black Island Marsh and the people from the Pyramid Lake clan were traditionally friendly with one another and all participants enjoyed the chance to again see and visit their old friends. The lake people shared their fish and other foods they had with the marsh people. Likewise, the Marsh people brought massive amounts of mammoth meat with them to share with their friends.
In writing the book, I studied the foods, medicines, cooking methods, hunting methods and other survival techniques before I started writing. I consulted with archaeologists and experts on prehistoric methods that were used. I had my own boat that I took to Pyramid Lake fishing for cui-ui and cutthroat trout many times and I hunted deer in the hills surrounding the Lake. I know there were several shamans that had expertise on various topics in prehistoric times.
One thing I did before writing the book was to actually climb the pyramid at Pyramid Lake just as Turtle who Fights did. I later learned that this is now forbidden, since other people have been killed falling from the monolith. A friend of mine named Pepper took photos of us at the top where we felt the warm steam coming up from the interior fed by a hot spring that likely formed the tufa pyramid. Please do not try anything such as I did in those days, since it was very foolish.
In the book, there was a scene where a team of hunters went deer hunting in the mountains south of the lake to bring back some deer meat for the clans to make jerky to preserve for the coming winter. One of the hunters I named Deer Bob. This person was actually my uncle named Bob who experienced a similar terrible hunting accident. The team of hunters were hunting on a mountain named Mt. Defiance, an actual mountain in the area. Deer Bob and an an inexperienced Indian hunter named Kochamp were hunting across Mt. Defiance when Kochamp accidentally shot Deer Bob through both thighs with his atlatal, thinking Deer Bob was a deer.
In real life, My uncle Bob did get shot by Kochamp through both thighs in the 1950s. I was not there when the accident occurred but by the end of the season, Bob and I went back and he shot his deer. The weapon used was not an atlatl, but it was a 30-30 Winchester. Kochamp was the actual  name an Indian man who worked on our ranch and did actually shoot Bob.
Over the years, I have known and worked with many Native American Indians. On our ranches, my family hired the students from the Stewart Indian School in Carson City to pick potatoes from fields on our farm. Having come from several states, they spoke several different dialects. The Stewart Indian boarding School operated from 1890 to 1980. The students were required to learn English in order to assimilate themselves to work in the white man’s world. They were required to speak English at all times.
Having known so many of the native population, I grew to appreciate the people. One thing I noticed was that they usually had a great sense of humor and loved to play sports when they attended school at Stewart. All of the characters in my book, Legends of Spirit Cave were native American Indians. This is why I show characters in the book who have a sense of humor and are inclined to play jokes on one another. Another trait the native people had was an inclination to gamble on occasion.
This article is by Dayton Author and Historian, Dennis Cassinelli. You can order his books. at a discount on his blog at  Just click on ”order books”