Caddo



ETHNONYMS: Ceni, Caddoquis, Teja

"Caddo" is the name used for a number of related and perhaps affiliated groups who lived in the lower Red River Valley and surrounding sections of what are now Louisiana, eastern Texas, and southern Arkansas. The number of Caddo subgroups is unknown and may have ranged from six to more than a dozen, including the Adai, Natchitoches, Kadohadacho, Hasinai, Hainai, and Eyeish. The name "Caddo" is an Anglicization of the French corruption of "Kadohadacho," the name of one of the subgroups. Each subgroup spoke a dialect of the Caddo language; only Kadohadacho and Hasinai are spoken today. The Caddo now live mainly on allotted land in Caddo County, Oklahoma, where they are affiliated with the Wichita and Delaware and are largely assimilated into European-American society. In 1984 there were about three thousand Caddo.

First contact was evidently with Hernando de Soto's Expedition of 1540. Subsequent contacts with the Spanish and French were generally peaceful, though the Caddo were drawn into the wars between the French and Spanish and depopulated by disease. Following the Louisiana Purchase, the Caddo ceded their land to the federal government and moved first to Texas and then, in 1859, to their present locale in what is now Oklahoma.

The Caddo lived in settled villages of large earthlodges and grass-covered lodges similar to those of the Wichita. They subsisted through a combination of horticulture, hunting, and gathering. Maize and beans were the major crops and deer and bison the primary game animals. The Caddo were well known for their highly developed manufactures including baskets, mats, cloth, and pottery. Their religion centered on a supreme deity and lesser deities. The ceremonial cycle closely followed the annual subsistence cycle. Leadership rested with hereditary chiefs and subchiefs. The tribe is governed today by elected tribal officers and a council, which operates independently of the similar bodies that govern the Delaware and Wichita.

Bibliography

Gregory, H. F. (1986). The Southern Caddo: An Anthology. New York: Garland Publishing.

Pertulla, Timothy K. (1980). "The Caddo Indians of Louisi-ana: A Review." Louisiana Archaeology 7:116-121.

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