Angel to the dláaniis

Shiprock man on a mission to feed the hungry


The first three times Darin Cadman heard the voice, he didn’t know quite what to do.

“You need to go feed my people,” it said. It’s not often one gets such a clear directive from an apparently higher power, and Cadman wanted to comply. But what to do? Bake 200 cookies and hand them out to strangers on the street? Whip up a bunch of bologna sandwiches? And which people, exactly, was he supposed to feed? Each time it happened, he got bogged down in the details, and the impetus gradually faded away.

On Sept. 27, 2016, he heard it again. “This time it was different,” Cadman recalls while dishing out plates of biscuits and gravy from his truck in the City Market parking lot Nov. 16. “It was like a jolt of electricity inside my body.” That time, Cadman looked around the kitchen of the NHA house he shares with his mother, Katherine Cadman, and found some oatmeal. He cooked it up and went to City Market, where he dished it out to some folks who had slept behind the store.

He’s been there every day since, other than weekends, when a pair of local churches takes over. “Something changed in me that day,” Cadman said. “I haven’t been the same since. I think of these guys all the time.”

The 50ish Diné/Kickapoo, who owned a successful drywall company in Montana before he broke his back in an accident, got kicked out of the house by his wife and moved back to the rez, is an unlikely philanthropist. He has enough trouble keeping his own body and soul together, eking out a living doing beading and feather work for powwow regalia. But somehow, like the Biblical loaves and fishes, there always seems to be enough food to divide among the 30 or so people who show up at his black pickup truck every morning and two evenings a week.

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Categories: Community
Tags: Darin Cadman, NHA

About Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at