poem index


Richard Calmit Adams

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Richard Calmit Adams, a member of the Delaware Tribe, was born on August 23, 1864, in Wyandotte County, Kansas. His father, William Adams, served as a Baptist minister and as a clerk of the Delaware tribal council, and his two uncles were chiefs of the tribal nation. In 1867, the U. S. government demanded that Delaware Tribe members relocate from Kansas to lands in the Cherokee Nation. In 1869, Adams’s family moved to Russell Creek, located in the Cherokee Nation and in what would become Oklahoma. His mother, Kate, died there in 1870.

Adams attended school part-time in Alluwe, Oklahoma, until 1880. He worked a variety of jobs over the next several years, including herding cattle, running a store, and operating a timber business. In 1894, he published information about the Delaware Tribe in the U. S. Census Bureau’s Extra Census Bulletin, including a history of the tribe, a code of laws, and two Delaware legends.

He went on to publish five books about Delaware culture and history, including The adoption of Mew-seu-qua, Tecumseh’s Father (The Crane Printing Company, 1917) and A Delaware Indian Legend and the Story of Their Troubles (1899). Many of his books feature poems about his people’s legends and their political rights.

In 1896, Adams travelled to Washington, D.C., to investigate the land rights of the Delaware people in the Cherokee Nation. He began legally representing members of the Delaware Tribe the following year, and he continued to campaign for his people’s land and mineral rights until his death. He died in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 1921.

Selected Bibliography

The adoption of Mew-seu-qua, Tecumseh’s Father (The Crane Printing Company, 1917)
Just a Few Thoughts (The Crane Printing Company, 1909)
Legends of the Delaware Indians and Picture Writing (Washington, D.C, 1905)
The Ancient Religion of the Delaware Indians and Observations and Reflections (The Law Reporter Printing Co., 1904)
A Brief Sketch of the Sabine Land Cession in Texas (J. Byrne & Co, 1901)
A Delaware Indian Legend and the Story of Their Troubles (Washington, D.C., 1899)

by this poet


With your kind permission, your attention I will claim,
I am only just an Indian, it matters not my name,
But I represent my people, their cause and interest, too;
And in their name and honor, I present myself to you.
They have your sacred promise, your pledge of friendship warm,
That you


Long, long ago, my people say, as their traditions tell,
They were a happy, powerful race, loved and respected well.
To them belonged the sacred charge, the synagogue to keep,
And every Autumn to the tribes, the Manitou’s praises speak.
And all things went with them full


When the waters were so mighty
     As to reach the mountains high,
And it seemed that all creation
     Surely then was doomed to die,
Came the turtle to our rescue,
     Brought us safely unto land,
For the Manitou had sent him;
     Now we’re called “The Turtle Clan.”