Adai Caddo Indian Nation


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Adai Caddo Indian Nation is the name of a Native American people of northwestern Louisiana and northeastern Texas with a Southeastern culture. They are recognized as an indian tribe in the state of Louisiana.

Official Tribal Name: Adai Caddo Indian Nation
Address: 4460 Hwy 485, Robeline, LA. 71469
Phone: (877) 472-1007

Official Website:

Recognition Status: State Recognized in Louisiana


Traditional Name / Traditional Meaning: The name Adai is derived from the Caddo word Hadai meaning ‘brushwood.’

Common Name / Meaning of Common Name: The term Caddo derives from the French abbreviation of Kadohadacho, a word meaning “real chief” or “real Caddo” in the Kadohadacho dialect.

Alternate names / Alternate spellings / Misspellings: European chroniclers referred to the Caddo groups as the Hasinai, Kadohadacho, and Natchitoches confederacies, although the “confederacies” are better interpreted as kin-based affiliated groups of Caddo communities.


Adai Caddo Indian NationRegion: State(s) Today: Louisiana and Texas

Traditional Territory: Caddoan sites indicate that Caddo communities were widely dispersed throughout the major and minor stream valleys of the Caddoan area along the Arkansas River approximately by  A.D. 800.

Confederacy: Tejas (Caddo) Confederacy – Before the middle of the nineteenth century the term Caddo denoted only one of at least twenty-five distinct but closely affiliated groups centered along the Red River in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

Treaties: Treaty With The Comanche, Aionai, Anadarko, Caddo, Etc., 1846

Location: The tribe still resides in its ancestral location in rural Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana. A tribal cultural center and tribal headquarters are located in the Spanish Lake community not far from Los Adaes State Historic Site.

Land Area:
Tribal Headquarters: Robeline, Louisiana
Time Zone: Central

First European Contact:The Adai were among the first peoples in North America to experience European contact. Early encounters with the Adai Caddo Indians were chronicled by Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca in the 1500s.

Population at Contact:

Estimates for the Kadohadacho division of the Caddo before European contact is 2,000. Bienville and La Harpe place it in 1700-–1709 between 2,000 and 2,500. In 1718, however, Bienville asserts that it had fallen to 200 warriors, which would mean about 800 people, and Sibley (1832) indicates the same figures as late as 1805.

In 1829 Porter (in Schoolcraft, vol. 3) gives an estimate of 450, and in 1851 Stem (1851) who is likely to be reliable, places it at 476. In 1857 Neighbors returns a partial enumeration of 235, and in 1876, the last time they were returned separately from the Hasinai, the Indian Office reported 467. It is evident, however, that this also includes part of the Hasinai and all of the Adai and Eyeish besides the remnants of the Natchitoches group.

Registered Population Today:

Tribal Enrollment Requirements:

Genealogy Resources: Caddo peoples traced descent through the maternal (mother’s) line. They also recognized clans, kinship groups that traced their heritage to a common ancestor through the female line.


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Language Classification: Adai

Language Dialects: Adai is generally considered to be a language isolate, but it is also possible it was one of the Caddoan language dialects before it became extinct.

Number of fluent Speakers: There are no known speakers of Adai left.

Origins: Caddo oral history says the tribe emerged from an underground cave, called Chahkanina or “the place of crying,” located at the confluence of the Red and Mississippi Rivers in northern Louisiana. Their leader, named Moon, instructed the people not to look back. An old Caddo man carried with him a drum, a pipe, and fire, all of which continued to be important religious items. His wife carried corn and pumpkin seeds. As people and accompanying animals emerged, the wolf looked back and the exit was closed to the remaining people and animals.

The Caddo peoples moved west along the Red River, or Bah’hatteno in Caddo. A Caddo woman, Zacado, instructed the tribe in hunting, fishing, home construction, and clothing.

Bands, Gens, and Clans: The clans were named after an animal (e.g., bison, bear, raccoon) or celestial phenomena (sun, thunder) and were ranked, some clans having a higher social status than others. Presumably the leaders were members of the highest ranked clans. Marriage typically occurred between members of different clans. 

Related Tribes: Historically, the Adia were related to the Arikara, Caddo, Kitsai, Pawnee, and Wichita. Today, there are two Caddo tribes: the Adai Caddo Indian Nation and the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.

Traditional Allies / Enemies: The Caddos interacted frequently with all the other tribes of the Southern Plains, particularly the Osage, Comanche, Kiowa, and Quapaw. Sometimes the Caddos were friendly with these tribes, trading goods and intermarrying. Other times they fought wars against each other. 


Modern Day Events & Tourism:

An intertribal powwow held annually in October brings together intertribal and Caddo dance traditions.

Legends / Oral Stories:

Art & Crafts: The Adai Caddo are best known for their pottery. The are also famous for their split cane mats and baskets.

Animals: Dogs were used as pack animals before Europeans reintroduced the horse.

Clothing: Caddo Indian men wore breechcloths, sometimes with leather leggings to protect their legs. Caddo women wore wrap-around skirts and usually went topless in warm weather. They sometimes wore poncho tops made of woven fiber and deerskin. These were useful when they were foraging for roots and berries and offered some protection from biting insects when they were in swampy areas. Both genders wore moccasins. Caddo men did not usually wear shirts, but in cold weather, both men and women wore buffalo robes. In colonial times, the Caddos adopted some European clothing such as cloth jackets and calico dresses.

Caddo men usually cut their hair in the Mohawk style or shaved their heads except for a scalplock (one long lock of hair on top of their heads.) Sometimes warriors would make this hairstyle more impressive with a colorful porcupine roach. Caddo Indian women usually wore their long hair in a bun. For special occasions, Caddo women fastened their buns with beaded hair ornaments and long trailing ribbons.

Adornment: Both men and women wore earrings. The Caddos also wore tribal tattoos, and women painted their faces and bodies bright colors for special occasions.

Caddo Houses: There were two different types of Caddo houses. The eastern Caddos in Louisiana built tall beehive-shaped grass houses. The western Caddos, in Texas and Oklahoma, built earthen lodges with thatched roofs. Each Caddo village also included a temple and a sports field. More about Caddo Houses.

Subsistance: The men hunted for deer, buffalo, and small game and went fishing in the rivers, while the women were the farmers, as well as responsible for child rearing and cooking. Caddo women grew crops of corn as early as 800A.D, and also grew 5 or 6 varieties of beans, pumpkins, and sunflowers. In historic times, corn (also called maize) was the mainstay crop. The Caddo grew several varieties of corn including “little” corn that ripened in the summer and “flour” or “great” corn that ripened in the fall. Corn was dried on the cob and stored in raised granaries to keep it dry and protected from rodents. 

Corn figured prominently in the annual ritual cycle with planting ceremonies, first-fruit or green corn ceremonies, and harvest rites. Successful fall harvests occasioned major festivals at the principal villages.  

Gathering wild foods was also practiced. Wild plants included nuts (hickory, walnut, acorn, and pecan), berries, plums, persimmon, grapes, and various seed plants, just to name a few.

Caddo Indians in Texas also mined salt from underground mines, which they boiled down to use in their cooking. The French saw peach orchards and watermelon patches at Caddo sites in the 1680s, which they had been introduced to by the earlier Spanish expeditions. 

While men were mostly hunters and warriors, leaving day to day chores to the women, they did help the women with the harder work such as clearing the fields and during the harvest.

Although the bison (buffalo) is known as a Plains animal, some bison were adapted to the woodlands and ranged into at least the western part of the Caddo Homeland. When the southern Plains herds ranged into the prairies west of the Caddo Homeland, Caddo hunting parties occasionally took hunting trips to get bison meat. After Caddo groups acquired horses in the late 17th century, bison hunting became more frequent. Still, bison hunting was not a core part of Caddo culture. White tailed deer were the main big game animal.

Turkeys, rabbits, and various other small animals and birds were hunted and snared. Caddo fishermen caught fish and shellfish in basket traps and with spears. Bears were hunted for food, fur, and especially for their fat, which was used for many useful purposes and was traded to the French.

Trade was also an important part of the Caddo economy, at least in historic times. Caddo groups traded resources found within the Caddo Homeland among each other and to outside groups. The best-known Caddo trade goods were bois d’arc wood, for making bows, and salt.

Economy Today:

Ceremonies / Dances /Religion & Spiritual Beliefs: The Caddo people looked to the xinesi for mediation and communication with their principal god, the Caddi Ayo, for religious leadership and decision-making influence, and in leading certain special rites, including the first-fruit or green corn rituals, harvest, and naming ceremonies. In essence, the xinesi connected Caddo life to the supernatural realm. In return, community members provided for the xinesi’s needs in terms of food and shelter. At a less exalted level, each community had various lesser priests as well as connas (medicine men) who cured sickness and carried out daily rituals. 

Burial Customs:

Wedding Customs


Famous Caddo Chiefs / Leaders

Catastrophic Events: It has been estimated that the Caddo populations may have fallen by as much as 95% between 1691 and 1816 due to European diseases.

Tribe History:

Fourteen Adai Caddo families moved away from their original homelands and migrated with the Spanish to reestablish the Capital of Texas at Bexar (known today as San Antonio, Texas), after closing the former Presidio de Los Adais that served as the capital of Texas for almost 50 years that was located in the Texas and Louisiana regions but soon returned to join their tribe.

The Adai were distant relatives of the Caddo people who occupied northwestern Louisiana until they were forced to cede their land to the U.S. government in 1835. A Spanish mission established near the Adai village in 1717 was briefly abandoned two years later; but the mission was reoccupied in 1721 with the founding of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Los Adaes Presidio, placed to oppose the fort established by the French at Natchitoches in 1714. For much of the 18th century, the Adai lived near and intermarried with Spanish and mestizo (Spanish-native) soldiers from Los Adaes. After the presidio closed in 1773, the Adai remained settled near the old presidio in their native territory and engaged in family farming and ranching.

Their history also connects the Adai Caddo Indian Nation to French explorers Iberville and Joutel in the 17th century. These explorers had exchanges with the Adai Caddo people that included trade and settlement.

In the News:

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