Within the area covered by the map there are recognized fifty-eight
distinct linguistic families.
These are enumerated in alphabetical order and each is accompanied
by a table of the synonyms of the family name, together with a brief
statement of the geographical area occupied by each family, so far
as it is known. A list of the principal tribes of each family also
= Adaize, Gallatin in Trans. and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., II, 116,
306, 1836. Latham in Proc. Philolog. Soc., Lond., II, 31-59, 1846.
Latham, Opuscula, 293, 1860. Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II,
xcix, 1848. Gallatin in Schoolcraft Ind. Tribes, III, 402, 1853.
Latham, Elements Comp. Phil., 477, 1862 (referred to as one of the
most isolated languages of N.A.). Keane, App. to Stanford’s Comp.
(Cent. and So. Am.), 478, 1878 (or Adees).
= Adaizi, Prichard, Phys. Hist. Mankind, V, 406, 1847.
= Adaise, Gallatin in Trans. Am. Eth. Soc., II, pt. 1, 77, 1848.
= Adahi, Latham, Nat. Hist. Man, 342, 1850. Latham in Trans.
Philolog. Soc., Lond., 103, 1856. Latham, Opuscula, 366, 368, 1860.
Latham, Elements Comp., Phil., 473, 477, 1863 (same as his Adaize
= Adaes, Buschmann, Spuren der aztekischen Sprache, 424, 1859.
= Adees. Keane, App. to Stanford’s Comp. (Cent. and So. Am.) 478,
1878 (same as his Adaize).
= Adái, Gatschet, Creek Mig. Leg., 41, 1884.
Derivation: From a Caddo word hadai, sig. “brush wood.”
This family was based upon the language spoken by a single tribe
who, according to Dr. Sibley, lived about the year 1800 near the old
Spanish fort or mission of Adaize, “about 40 miles from
Natchitoches. below the Yattassees, on a lake called Lac Macdon,
which communicates with the division of Red River that passes by
Bayau Pierre.”6 A
vocabulary of about two hundred and fifty words is all that remains
to us of their language, which according to the collector, Dr.
Sibley, “differs from all others, and is so difficult to speak or
understand that no nation can speak ten words of it.”
It was from an examination of Sibley’s vocabulary that Gallatin
reached the conclusion of the distinctness of this language from any
other known, an opinion accepted by most later authorities. A recent
comparison of this vocabulary by Mr. Gatschet, with several Caddoan
dialects, has led to the discovery that a considerable percentage of
the Adái words have a more or less remote affinity with Caddoan, and
he regards it as a Caddoan dialect. The amount of material, however,
necessary to establish its relationship to Caddoan is not at present
forthcoming, and it may be doubted if it ever will be, as recent
inquiry has failed to reveal the existence of a single member of the
tribe, or of any individual of the tribes once surrounding the Adái
who remembers a word of the language.
Mr. Gatschet found that some of the older Caddo in the Indian
Territory remembered the Adái as one of the tribes formerly
belonging to the Caddo Confederacy. More than this he was unable to
learn from them.
Owing to their small numbers, their remoteness from lines of travel,
and their unwarlike character the Adái have cut but a small figure
in history, and accordingly the known facts regarding them are very
meager. The first historical mention of them appears to be by Cabeça
de Vaca, who in his “Naufragios,” referring to his stay in Texas,
about 1530, calls them Atayos. Mention is also made of them by
several of the early French explorers of the Mississippi, as
d’Iberville and Joutel.
The Mission of Adayes, so called from its proximity to the home of
the tribe, was established in 1715. In 1792 there was a partial
emigration of the Adái to the number of fourteen families to a site
south of San Antonio de Bejar, southwest Texas, where apparently
they amalgamated with the surrounding Indian population and were
lost sight of. (From documents preserved at the City Hall, San
Antonio, and examined by Mr. Gatschet in December, 1886.) The Adái
who were left in their old homes numbered one hundred in 1802,
according to Baudry de Lozieres. According to Sibley, in 1809 there
were only “twenty men of them remaining, but more women.” In 1820
Morse mentions only thirty survivors.
Indian Linguistic Families of America North of Mexico, 1891