Adai Indians

Adai Tribe: Meaning unknown.

Adai Connections. This tribe was at first thought to have constituted to an independent linguistic stock and the name Adaizan was given to it, but later Dr. Gatschet determined that the Adai language was a somewhat aberrant Caddo dialect, and therefore placed in the Caddoan stock.

Adai Location. Near the present Robeline in Natchitoches Parish.

Adai History. In 1699 Iberville mentions the Adai under the name Natao. In 1717 the mission of San Miguel de Linares was established among them by Spanish Franciscan missionaries. The buildings were destroyed in 1719 by a force of French and Indians, but they rebuilt 2 years later as San Miguel de los Adaes, and the mission was not finally abandoned until 1773. In October 1721 a military post called Nuestra Señora del Pilar de los Adaes was located close to the mission and continued until the latter was given up. For 50 years this post was the capital of Texas in spite of, or because of, the fact that it was on its extreme eastern frontier. In 1778 De Mézières states (in Bolton, 1914) that the tribe was almost extinct, but in 1805 Sibley reported a small Adai settlement on Lake Macdon near an affluent of Red River. The survivors probably combined with the other Caddoan tribes of the region and followed their fortunes.

Adai Population. Bienville reported 50 warriors among them in 1700 but twice as many in 1718. When the mission of San Miguel was rebuilt it is said to have served 400 Indians. In 1805 the Adai village contained only 20 men but the number of women was much greater. The total Adai population in 1825 was 27. My own estimate for 1698 is about 400.

Connection in which they have become noted. The Adai were peculiar
in having spoken a dialect so diverse from the other Caddo forms of speech that, as already stated, Powell (1891) at first gave them an independent status as constituting the Adaizan linguistic family. Historically, the Adai Indian and White settlement was noted as the easternmost outpost of the Spaniards and of the Franciscan Spanish missions, and it was the capital of the Province of Texas for 50 years.


Swanton, John R. The Indian Tribes of North America. Bureau of American Ethnology, Bulletin 145. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office. 1953.

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