The Inspiration for Mining Sacred Ground

Mining Sacred Ground

What inspired me to write Mining Sacred Ground? Was it love of the West, love of its hard reality or its glorified mythology? Mostly, my inspiration is found in its people.

It is difficult for anyone to look into the minds of others, unless one is a novelist. In fiction we can capture the hopes and aspirations of people who are still victimized by forces over which they have no control. Until they take control.

In fiction we can explore the minds of those who wish to fight back. History is full of men like that: Crazy Horse, Sitting Bull, Geronimo, and Tecumseh, to name just a few. History and fiction have both idolized these heroes and to this pantheon of rebels I add my own fictional hero, Peter Romero. 

As Romero may attest, Native Americans are beset by a number of grave problems, not the least of which is theft of their remaining land. Miners, ranchers, even governments find compelling reasons to acquire native lands, some of them sacred, for purposes other than the sustainment of the original inhabitants. This process, started in 1492, has continued to this day. Today there are only 52 million acres left from the original American Indian homeland of the about 6.1 billion acres in North America. Yet, Indian people endure. Romero knows this must stop.

Romero and others like him remind me of the old Frank Sinatra song, High Hopes, a song about a goat and a dam. “Once there was a silly old ram, thought he’d punch a hole in a dam…”. You may remember the dam crumbled.

Romero and other Native Americans I know characterize what I think is one of humankind’s greatest attributes: perseverance.  The dictionary defines it this way: continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no indication of success.

Romero is a bull-headed man. He knows what is right but, most of all, he does not know how to quit.  Perseverance inspires me and also reminds me of many of the Marines I had the privilege to serve with for twenty years. These people were winners under extraordinary difficulties. Why? They did not know how to quit.

John Wooden said it well: "It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it."

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Ancestral spirits demand that Marine veteran Peter Romero protect the secrecy of a sacred burial ground, and the world becomes a stranger place than he’d ever understood. He is pitted against a psychotic anthropology professor in a life-and-death struggle through the hills, arroyos, and caves of central Arizona, and into another world. 

When Romero’s cousin is murdered, the former military policeman is astonished that the local sheriff shows no enthusiasm for solving the crime. He is forced to recognize that, after a military career, greater danger lies ahead in his civilian life.
Author: David Knopf


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