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The Hainai or Aimay lived in the postcontact period, which began with the Spanish in the sixteenth century in what is now East Texas, as one of the nine tribes of the Hasinai Nation, after the migration from the place of origin or Cha-cah-nee-nah. Prior to forced removal from their homeland in 1859, the Hainai lived in the largest tribal village complex in the Angelina River valley in what is now East Texas. Since forced removal, the Hainai have integrated among the Caddo Nation in west-central Oklahoma within the Wichita-Caddo-Delaware Tribal Jurisdictional Area.

Culture is reflected in language. The Hainai dialect is used to call the dancers in the turkey dance or nuh'-ka-oa-shun, which relates the history and philosophy of the Caddo people and continues to be danced in the twenty-first century. Hainai differs dialectically from both Hasinai and Kadohadacho forms of spoken Caddo.

A little evidence was still obtainable in the form of a few remembered differences in terms and phrases in the late twentieth century. These were of two types. First, phonetic differences appeared as the people studied their languages. Second, complete differences existed in terminology. Much of this appears connected with adoption of alien concepts, particularly from the Spanish. However, Hainai kinship terms and usages also differed. In the early twentieth century Native speakers noted the close relationship of Nabedache, another band among the Hasinai, and Hainai. Greater divergence was noted between Hainai and the Kadohadacho, Nacogdoche, and Anadarko.

The Hainai provide significant leadership among the Caddo people, fully integrating themselves within the contemporary Caddo Nation.

Howard R. Meredith



Cecile Elkins Carter, Caddo Indians: Where We Come From (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1995).

Vynola Beaver Newkumet and Howard Meredith, Hasinai: A Traditional History of the Caddo Confederacy (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1988).

F. Todd Smith, The Caddo Indians: Tribes at the Convergence of Empires, 1542–1854 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995).

John R. Swanton, Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1996).

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The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Howard R. Meredith, “Hainai,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry.php?entry=HA002.

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