Shiprock man making children’s book from Native American perspective

New Mexico News

Correction issued below

SHIPROCK, N.M. (KRQE) – A man on the Navajo reservation is trying something new to support his family. But it’s something he also hopes will teach youth about Native American tribes along the way.

Darin Cadman is the one behind it all. He says he does what he can to bring in an income.

“I spent my life being a carpenter but I can’t do that no more. And so, with injury to my spine, I have to do artwork, I have to do beadwork, featherwork, whatever I can do to make a dollar,” Cadman said.

Now, he’s using his artistic abilities to do more than that. Cadman is raising money to publish his own children’s book that not only teaches the alphabet but teaches young readers about Native American tribes. “We’re going to show people the alphabet and the descriptive writing from the Native American perspective,” Cadman said.

For example, words like Dine are used to teach the letter ‘D.’ The description tells stories of Native American tribes. When learning ‘D,’ the description reads: “D, Dine These are the Navajo people. I am Dine the people. I am also called Navajo. A name that means Farmer. My ancestors crossed an ice bridge from Mongolia to America thousands of years ago.”

For the letter ‘B,’ readers learn how bears helped teach native tribes. The page reads, “I am bear. When I am hurt, I chew certain plants, place them on my wound. I teach the two-leggeds how to heal.”

Through the pictures in each letter and the descriptions, Cadman hopes young, indigenous students see their culture represented and are inspired. “I think that’s where, I think it’s most important…is encouraging the young native kids you know, you can be an artist, you can be a writer, you can design certain pictures,” he said.

He hopes to get these books on all reservations eventually being able to donate them. He’d also like to see them in schools off of reservations. “It could be another re-introduction to Native America from you know, coast to coast,” Cadman said. He still needs to raise about $1,500 for publishing costs.


Correction: A previous version of this story had Darin Cadman’s name misspelled as Darin Camdan.

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