For the Navajo, to "walk in beauty"-to stay in balance with
the natural world around one-is the greatest gift, and the
greatest task, of one's life. For Rose Destea, to walk in
beauty has meant threading a difficult path between
traditionalist and modernist ways. Though she worships at
the family shrine, her husband was a Christian preacher.
Though her son, Clifford Destea, is a respected hataalii or
medicine man, her daughter, Ella Clah, is a Special
Investigator with the Navajo Police and a former FBI agent.
After decades as a wife, mother, and grandmother, Rose has
become a tribal activist. Briefly in the national spotlight
when she spoke against bringing casino gambling to the
Navajo Reservation, Rose now works to guide not just her
family but the whole tribe into a balanced future.
When Navajo healers and members of the Plant Watchers
society report that healing plants sacred to the Navajo are
disappearing from the Rez, the tribal council asks Rose to
catalog the plants and their growing places. She faces
strong opposition from hataaliis reluctant to reveal their
secret herb-gathering spots and from people who think the
Rez should cultivate genetically engineered plants instead
of native species.
Rose finds evidence that many plants have been stolen-
plants that may be valuable in the growing market for
alternative and natural medications. Rose's home is burgled
and her plant notes stolen. Adding to her worries is the
serious illness of an old friend and the apparent
extinction of a plant essential to the healing ritual that
is the sick woman's only hope of a cure. Then a Navajo man
is found dead, apparently of a heart attack; Rose is
convinced that he was murdered by the plant thief.
Rose has picked up a trick or two from her police officer
daughter; she begins an independent investigation that soon
has her up to her neck in trouble.
Plant Them Deep is a stand-alone novel that complements the
Ella Clah series and will deepen readers' understanding of
the Navajo world.