Heart of Louisiana: The Adai Caddo Nation - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Heart of Louisiana: The Adai Caddo Nation


Once a year, you hear the sounds of Native American drums in the forests of Northwest Louisiana. For members of Louisiana's Adai Caddo Nation, it's a chance to walk and dance in the footsteps of their ancestors. FOX 8's Dave McNamara takes us to a pow-wow in Natchitoches Parish in tonight's Heart of Louisiana

They were an ancient people who roamed the forests of Louisiana and Texas. Early European explorers wrote of their tribe as early as 1529.

“They was eager to make connections with us, said Adai Caddo Chief Rufus Davis. “We served as trade partners and supported them militarily.”

Davis has been chief of the tribe for the past 20 years. During that time, associated tribes from Texas and Oklahoma have come to Northwest Louisiana for an annual powwow.

“It's in honor of our forefathers celebrating our Indian heritage,” Davis said. “To help bring our kids along and teach them.”

The drums and chants are a traditional song, a pulsating melody that has survived for generations. The dancers, tribal elders and young warriors, women and children move around the circular dance ground.

Sixteen-year-old Hunter Leyva says he has been dancing to these traditional songs since he started walking.

“I've done it all of my life, so my mom and dad had me doing it when I was younger, so I just got the interest and started doing it,” he said.

Dancer Aaron Stewart is also carrying on his family tradition.

“It's good for us,” Stewart said. “It's good for our people that, you know, we stay doing this heritage because our grandpas - they wanted us to continue doing that legacy that they left behind.”

This gathering is held each year on the Adai Caddo's homeland near the small town of Robeline. The teepee is not really a part of the Adai Caddo history, although it certainly adds to the attractions at the tribe's museum and cultural center.

Inside the museum, you see the thatched huts that were used by this tribe. Other pieces of broken pottery, grinding stones and arrow points add to the Adai Caddo history, just like the songs and dances that have been handed down over countless generations.

“In our day we had the rain dance, the war dance and both of them kind of taken out of the context you might say,” Davis said. “We didn't think we was going to make it rain, it was a prayer for rain and the same with a war dance. It was prayer for the safe return of the warriors back to their families.”

The Adai Caddo have a history that dates back more than 1,000 years. The celebration is a way of remembering and living that heritage.

The tribe held its pow-wow in October, but there is another pow-wow this weekend in Gonzales. The Louisiana Indian Heritage Association is holding its intertribal pow-wow at the Lamar-Dixon expo center Saturday and Sunday.

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