How Much Do You Know About the Adai Nation?
In case you didn't know, November is Native American Heritage Month. Every year, we set aside the month of November to celebrate the cultures and the people who were the original inhabitants of the United States and beyond. Currently, there are 574 Federally recognized tribes and hundreds more that are recognized and celebrated on a state level. Locally, one of the biggest and most recognizable tribes is Adai Caddo Tribe, but how much do you know about their culture or history?
Maybe one of the most important facts about the Adai Nation is that they are not one of the Federally recognized tribes. Their status is only acknowledged on the state level. Despite fighting to get recognized for years, they have not yet been giving Federal recognition, which means they do not get the same protections or funding that other tribes get. Which is important to say at the very top here because that means it is even more important for us to learn their history, honor their culture and do everything possible to keep their legacy intact. The Shreveport Times did a wonderful piece about their struggles with the Federal Government a few years ago which is definitely worth the read if you're interested.
Historically speaking, the first documented contact with Adai tribe happened in 1529 in the Gulf of Mexico. While most of the nation was concentrated in Northern Louisiana and East Texas, their villages were located all around the Red River and Sabine River and could also be found in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Because of their spread out nature, unlike other tribes, they had villages in both French and Spanish providences. This not only influenced their culture, but unfortunately led to the near extermination of the tribe as they had to deal with multiple diseases and violent encounters with Spanish, French and other settlers. Some accounts say that by 1820 the tribe had as few as 30 surviving members. Also, due to the mass loss of people, their native language disappeared.
For years, many of the remaining tribe members lived in or around Natchitoches Parish. Currently, there are roughly 1,300 official members of the tribe in Louisiana & surrounding states with about half of those members living in Natchitoches Parish. The Adai Caddo Indian Nation Cultural Center is located in Robeline and has a pretty amazing museum. From ceremonial pieces to war plates to prehistoric cooking utensils to traditional Adai homes, the museum and cultural center is absolutely amazing.
Look, their history is rich and deep. There's tons of tribal history when it comes to Adai Nation. I'm just giving a brief overview. I could not and would not do their history justice. These are an amazing people with an amazing story and it's probably best if you learn their history from them. Visit the Cultural Center, 'live' a day in the life an Adai, learn their history and do your part to keep their memory and legacy alive.