Last Updated: 9 months The Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a single federally recognized tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma. The Caddo Nation is a confederacy made up of several Southeastern Native American tribes who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northern Louisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma.
Official Tribal Name: Caddo Nation of Oklahoma
Address: PO Box 487, Binger, OK 73009
Phone: (405) 656-2344, Personel Phone Directory
Email: Email Director
Official Website: Na’-Ah-Wih Ta’-Sha
Recognition Status: Federally Recognized
Region: Great Plains
State(s) Today: Oklahoma
The Caddo lived in the Piney Woods eco-region of the United States up to the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and often near the Caddo River. The Piney Woods is a dense forest of deciduous and conifer trees covering rolling hills, steep river valleys, and intermittent wetlands called Bayous. Several Caddo villages were resettled, including the community of Elysian Fields, Texas, and Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, both of which have kept their original names. The Caddo were progressively moved further west until they reached what is now western Oklahoma. The geography of the drier plains was a big contrast to the lush hilly forests that were formerly their homeland.
Confederacy: Tejas (Caddo) Confederacy
In 1845, when Texas was admitted to the US as a state, the government forced the relocation of both the Hasinai and the Kadohadacho onto the Brazos Reservation. In 1859 many of the Caddo were relocated to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. After the Civil War, the Caddo were concentrated on a reservation located between the Washita and Canadian rivers.
Traditional Name / Meaning of Traditional Name:
Common Name: Caddo tribe
Meaning of Common Name:
Caddo derives from the French abbreviation of Kadohadacho, a word meaning “real chief” or “real Caddo” in the Kadohadacho dialect.
“Texas” comes from the Hasinai word táysha?, meaning “friend.”
Alternate names / Alternate spellings: Formerly the Caddo Indian Tribe of Oklahoma
Caddo in other languages:
- At’-ta-wits, by the Comanche.
- Dä’sha-i, or Táshash, by the Wichita.
- Érawika, by the Pawnee.
- ‘H’-doum-dei-kiH, by the Kiowa.
- Ka-löX-la’-tce, by the Choctaw.
- Kalu-χnádshu or Kasseye’i, by the Tonkawa.
- Kul-hül-atsǐ, by the Creeks.
- Ma’-seip’-kia, by the Kiowa, signifying “pierced noses.”
- Ni’rǐs-häri’s-kǐ’riki, another Wichita name.
- Otä’s-itä’niuw’, Cheyenne name, signifying “pierced nose people” (or Utásĕta).
- Su’-d¢ĕ, by the Quapaw.
- Tani’bänĕn, by the Arapaho, signifying “pierced nose people.”
- Witúne, by the Comanche.
Bands / Population at Contact:
Estimates for the Kadohadacho division of the Caddo before European contact is 2,000. Bienville and La Harpe place it in 1700-1709 between 2,000 and 2,500. In 1718, however, Bienville asserts that it had fallen to 200 warriors, which would mean about 800 people, and Sibley (1832) indicates the same figures as late as 1805.
In 1829 Porter (in Schoolcraft, vol. 3) gives an estimate of 450, and in 1851 Stem (1851) who is likely to be reliable, places it at 476. In 1857 Neighbors returns a partial enumeration of 235, and in 1876, the last time they were returned separately from the Hasinai, the Indian Office reported 467. It is evident, however, that this also includes part of the Hasinai and all of the Adai and Eyeish besides the remnants of the Natchitoches group.
After this date the population of the united Caddo group remained around 500, but during the present century it has been steadily increasing and in 1937, 967 were reported.
Registered Population Today: 4,944 as of October 2011
Tribal Enrollment Requirements:
All living lineal descendants of allottee(s), of at least one-sixteenth (1/16) degree Caddo Indian Blood, born after the date of the adoption of the Constitution (June 26, 1976), except those persons otherwise entitled to enrollment with the Caddo Nation who elect to be enrolled in another tribe are eligible for enrollment.
Enrollment application takes 4 to 6 weeks depending on the research. Enrollment Committee Meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month and then approved applications will go before the next scheduled Tribal Council Meeting.
Melanie Oyebi – extension 221
Angela Silago – estension 257
Telephone: (405) 656-2344
Fax: (405) 656-2551
Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
In 1938, the Constitution for the Caddo Indians of Oklahoma became an established government. The Tribal Council is composed of eight members: the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, Oklahoma City Representative, Binger Representative, Anadarko Representative, and Fort Cobb Representative. The Representatives come from four areas (districts) with high populations of Caddo people. Though these Representatives are elected to represent their individual constituencies, they play an important part in making decisions for the entire tribe. Terms are for four years. With the exception of the Tribal Chairperson, the Tribal Council members are not paid a salary. The Tribal Council can be contacted through the Caddo Nation at (405) 656-2344. (need to expand this)
Language Classification: Caddoan -> Caddo
The Caddo language is linguistically related to the Pawnee, Arikara, Wichita, and Keechi languages. Each band of the Caddo had a distinct dialect, but these dialects could generally be understood by all speakers of the Caddo language. The differences in the dialects are both on the level of pronunciation and vocabulary. The two most commonly used dialects today are Hasinai and Hainai.
Number of fluent Speakers: Only 25 elderly speakers of the Caddo language remain. The language is critically endangered, but the Caddo Nation does have a language revitalization program.
Caddo oral history says the tribe emerged from an underground cave, called Chahkanina or “the place of crying,” located at the confluence of the Red and Mississippi Rivers in northern Louisiana. Their leader, named Moon, instructed the people not to look back. An old Caddo man carried with him a drum, a pipe, and fire, all of which continued to be important religious items. His wife carried corn and pumpkin seeds. As people and accompanying animals emerged, the wolf looked back and the exit was closed to the remaining people and animals.
The Caddo peoples moved west along the Red River, or Bah’hatteno in Caddo. A Caddo woman, Zacado, instructed the tribe in hunting, fishing, home construction, and clothing. Caddo religion focuses on Kadhi háyuh, translating to “Lord Above” or “Lord of the Sky.” In early times, the people were led by priests, including a head priest, the xinesi, who could commune with spirits residing near Caddo temples. A cycle of ceremonies corresponded to corn cultivation. Tobacco was and is used ceremonially. Early priests drank a purifying sacrament made of wild olive leaves.
Related Tribes: Historically, the Adia were related to the Arikara, Caddo, Kitsai, Pawnee, and Wichita. Today, there are two Caddo tribes: the Adai Caddo Indian Nation and the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma.
Traditional Allies: The Caddo interacted frequently with all the other tribes of the Southern Plains, particularly the Osage, Comanche, Kiowa, and Quapaw. Sometimes the Caddos were friendly with these tribes, trading goods and intermarrying. Other times they fought wars against each other.
Before extensive European contact, some of the Caddo territory was invaded by migrating Osage, Ponca, Omaha and Kaw, who had moved west beginning about 1200 CE because of years of warfare with the Iroquois in the Ohio River area of present-day Kentucky. The Osage particularly dominated the Caddo and pushed them out of some of their former territory, becoming dominant in the regions of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma. The new tribes had become well settled in their new traditional grounds west of the Mississippi by mid-18th century European contact.
Important Ceremonies / Dances:
The Caddo have a greater variety of social dance songs, such as the Duck Dance, the Alligator Dance, and the Bear Dance, than any other tribe from the Eastern Woodlands. Within each type of social dance, the Caddo continue to sing a greater number of songs than other tribes; for example, while other tribes may only have one or two Bell Dance songs, the Caddo people have dozens.
One of the most important of the Caddo dances is the Turkey Dance. This dance is performed in the afternoon and must be completed by sunset (when turkeys come home to roost). The various songs of the Turkey Dance describe the accomplishments of Caddo warriors.
Legends / Oral Stories:
Crafts: The Caddo people are known for their fine pottery.
The men would generally wear breechcloths and occasionally leather leggings for protecting their legs. Women wore wraparound skirts with poncho tops often made out of deerskin. Both men and women wore moccasins on their feet.
In cold weather both men and women would wear thick robes made with buffalo fur. Both sexes wore earrings.
As the Caddo people came into contact with European settlers and traders, they started wearing some European styled clothing like jackets and dresses.
The men of the tribe traditionally had Mohawk style haircuts or would shave their heads except for one long lock of hair. The women of the tribe generally had long hair which they would wear in a bun. On special occasions they would decorate their hair with beads or ribbons.
The traditional homes were made of grass supported by a framework of poles. Their shape resembled a beehive and could have a diameter of up to 45 feet (13.7 meters).A less common house was made of brush covered by mud and supported by poles. They had roofs made out of either grass or bark. For protection, walls made out of logs were often constructed around the village.
The Caddo tribes practiced subsistence agriculture, supplemented with hunting and gathering of native food plants. The Caddo’s food varied greatly, depending on the area they were in, with the most common staple being dried corn. Sunflower seeds and pumpkins were also important staples with cultural significance, as were wild turkeys.
The Anadarko (Nadaco) were an American Indian tribe indigenous to Texas and whose descendants are now members of the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma. Recognized as Kadohadacho or “the Caddo Proper” since the nineteenth century, an estimated 449 Anadarkos resided in Oklahoma, mostly in Caddo County, circa 1950. The Caddo County seat of Anadarko was named for the tribe.
Spaniards first reported the “Nondacao” in East Texas in 1542. By 1700 the tribe had joined the Hasinai, one of three Caddo “confederations” (the Kadohadacho and the Natchitoches were the others). While most Hasinai dwelled near the upper Neches and Angelina rivers, the Anadarko lived farther north along the Sabine River. All Caddo shared the same language and culture.
The Anadarko were located at the forks of the Trinity River when Texas independence was declared in 1836. Their unfriendly relations with the Republic of Texas culminated when Texas troops drove the Anadarko into Indian Territory (present Oklahoma) in winter 1838-39.
The tribe returned to Texas in 1843 and settled on the Brazos River. After Texas statehood, in 1846 the United States negotiated a treaty with the tribes of that region. The Anadarko were represented by Iesh (José María), who had emerged as the principal Caddo leader. Hostilities continued, however, and the Anadarko were soon overrun by white settlers.
The Anadarko were placed on the Brazos Reservation near Fort Belknap, Texas, in 1854. They, along with the Waco, Tonkawa, and other tribes, were removed to the Indian Territory in 1859 and placed under the jurisdiction of the Wichita Agency in the Leased District.
Following the death of the pro-Confederate Iesh in 1862, most Anadarko fled to Kansas during the Civil War. They returned to the Wichita Agency in 1867 and were thereafter known as Caddo. The Wichita-Caddo reservation was established in 1872 and was allotted to 965 individuals, including 536 Caddos, in 1901. The Anadarko, Kadohadacho, and Hasinai formed the Caddo Indian Tribe of Oklahoma in 1938.
More than 1,200 years ago, a group of Caddo Indians known as the Hasinai built a village 26 miles west of present-day Nacogdoches, Texas. The site was the southwestern-most ceremonial center for the great Mound Builder culture. Today, three earthen mounds still rise from the lush Pineywoods landscape at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, where visitors discover the everyday life and the history of this ancient civilization.
The following video explores this ancient mound site.
In the News:
The Forgotten People: Cane River’s Creoles of Color
The Archaeology of the Caddo
Traditions of the Caddo
Caddo Indians: Where We Come From
Drawing with Great Needles: Ancient Tattoo Traditions of North America
Sacred Places North America: 108 Destinations
Source Material on the History and Ethnology of the Caddo Indians