As Caddo people, we are the descendants of agriculturalists with an intimate understanding of the world, the stars, the sky, the earth and the world below the earth, from which we emerged. This understanding of who we are and where we came from, how to live and how to treat one another was handed down to us by our Creator from our very Origin story. Our distinctive way of life was guided by deeply embedded values that are still relevant today. The different bands that made up large confederacies of our ancestors were the builders of large earthen, flat top mounds, upon which structures were built. Priests studied the night sky of stars and, from that, understood our place in the universe, the passage of time, when to plant and how to thrive.
Our material culture, the ancient items left behind or buried funerary items unearthed, continue to be studied by archaeologists in our ancient homelands of what is today, Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. These items emerged by A.D. 900, as explored by archaeological in these areas. Caddo material culture reflects a deep and complex understanding of the world in which we lived.
When members of Hernando de Soto’s expedition entered the region in 1542, thriving Caddo communities were distributed along the Brazos, Trinity, Neches, Sabine, Red, and Ouachita rivers. These communities played important economic and diplomatic roles during the seventeenth and eighteenth century colonial era.
The Caddo confederacies and the bands within them scattered three directions over a period of decades, eventually to reunite in Indian Territory at the Wichita Reservation. https://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/tejas/voices/without.html The removal treaty signed on July 1, 1835 in what would later become Shreveport, Louisiana, was signed by the Caddo that lived in Northwestern Louisiana under principal chief Tsauninot’s leadership. A group of Caddo settled among the Choctaw and Chickasaw in south-central Indian Territory near present-day Paul’s Valley, OK. The small town of Whitebead, OK was named for this group of Caddo, who are sometimes referred to as the “Whitebead group” among Caddo people today. Another group of Caddo led by Nadako chief José María (Kahdii Haish) were interned on the lower Brazos reservation near the Salk Fork of the Brazos River in present-day Young County, TX. This group was emergency evacuated by the U.S. Indian Agent Major Robert S. Neighbors in 1859 to avoid a massacre by Texas frontiersmen led by Colonel John R. Baylor. https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/shreveport-and-chonena-caddo-bands-leave-texas
After multiple forced removals, the Caddo eventually relocated to what is now Caddo County, OK. The Kadohadacho, Natchitoches, and Hasinai confederacies and all the bands within them consolidated geographically as a consequence of Indian removal. Additional losses resulted from the subsequent sale of reservation lands as a result of allotment. Twentieth century efforts to revitalize economic, social, political, and religious institutions have enabled Caddo people to maintain a distinctive identity today and continue building toward a hopeful and prosperous future.