Caddoan Indians

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Caddoan Family. A linguistic family, first classified by Gallatin (Trans, and Coll. Am. Antiq. Soc., n, 116, 1836), who regarded the Caddo and Pawnee languages as distinct, hence both names appear in his treatise as family designations. Although now regarded as belonging to the same linguistic stock, there is a possibility that future investigation may prove their distinctness. The Caddoans may be treated in three geographic groups : The Northern, represented by the Arikara in North Dakota; the Middle, comprising the Pawnee confederacy formerly living on Platte r., Neb., and to the w. and s. w. thereof; and the Southern group, including among others the Caddo, Kichai, and Wichita (Powell in 7th Rep. B. A. E., 58, 1891) . The tribes included in the Southern group were scattered throughout the region of the Red r. of Louisiana and its tributaries, in Arkansas and s. Oklahoma, where their names survive in the Washita r., the Wichita mountains and river, Waco city, Kichai hills, etc.; they also spread along the Sabine, Neches, Trinity, and Brazos rs. of Texas, and in part con trolled the territory as far as the Colorado r. of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

From cultural and other evidence the Caddoan tribes seem to have moved eastward from the S. W. The advance guard was probably the Caddo proper, who, when first met by the white race, had dwelt so long in the region of the Red r. of Louisiana as to regard it as their original home or birthplace. Other branches of the Caddoan family followed, settling along the rivers of N. E. Texas. Whether they drove earlier occupants of the region to the Gulf or at a later day were forced back from the coast by intrusive tribes is not clear, but that some displacement had occurred seems probable, as early Spanish and French travelers found tribes of different families on the Gulf coast, while the Caddoans held the rivers but were acquainted with the coast and visited the bays of Galveston and Matagorda. The last group to migrate was probably the Pawnee, who kept to the x. and N. E. and settled in a part of what is now Kansas and Nebraska.

The tribes of N. E. Texas being in the territory over which the Spaniards, French, and English contended for supremacy, were the first to succumb to contact with the white race and the in roads of wars and new diseases. Those dwelling farther inland escaped for a time, but all suffered great diminution in numbers; the thousands of 2 centuries ago are now represented by only a few hundreds. The survivors to-day live on allotted lands in Oklahoma and North Dakota, as citizens of the United States, and their children are being educated in the language and the industries of the country.

From the earliest records and from traditions the Caddoan tribes seem to have been cultivators of the soil as well as hunters, and practiced the arts of pottery making, weaving, skin dressing, etc. Tattooing the face and body was common among those of the Southern group. Two distinct types of dwellings were used the conical straw house among the Southern group and the earth lodge among the Pawnee and Arikara. Their elaborate religious ceremonies pertained to the quest of long life, health, and food supply, and embodied a recognition of cosmic forces and the heavenly bodies. By their supernatural and social power these ceremonies bound the people together. The tribes were generally loosely confederated; a few stood alone. The tribe was subdivided, and each one of these subdivisions had its own village, bearing a distinctive name and sometimes occupying a definite relative position to each of the other villages of the tribe. A village could be spoken of in three ways:

(1) By its proper name, which was generally mythic in its significance or referred to the share or part taken by it in the religious rites, wherein all the villages of the tribe had a place;

(2) by its secular name, which was often descriptive of its locality;

(3) by the name of its chief.

The people sometimes spoke of themselves by one of the names of their village, or by that of their tribe, or by the name of the confederacy to which they belonged. This custom led to the recording, by the early travelers, of a multiplicity of names, several of which might represent one community. This confusion was augmented when not all the tribes of a confederacy spoke the same language; in such cases a mispronunciation or a translation caused a new name to be record ed. For instance, the native name of the Caddo confederacy, Hasinai, our own people, was translated by the Yatasi, and “Texas” is a modification of the word they gave. Owing to the fact that a large proportion of the tribes mentioned by the writers of the last 3 centuries, together with their languages, are now extinct, a correct classification of the recorded names is no longer possible. The following list of confederacies, tribes, and villages is divided into 4 groups: (1) Those undoubtedly Caddoan; (2) those probably so; (3) those possibly so; (4) those which appear to have been within the Caddoan country.

(1) Arikara, Bidai, Caddo, Campti, Choye, Kichai, Nacaniche, Nacici, Nanatsoho, Nasoni (=Asinai=Caddo?), Natasi, Pawnee, Wichita.

(2) Aguacay, Akasquy, Amediche, Anoixi, Ardeco, Avoyelles, Cahinnio, Capiche, Chacacants, Chaguate, Chaquantie, Chavite, Chilano, Coligoa, Colima, Doustioni, Dulchanio, Harahey, Pallaquesson, Penoy, Tareque.

(3) Analao, Autiamque, Avavares, Cachaymon, Guaycones, Haquis, Irrupiens, Kannehouan, Naansi, Nabiri, Toxo.

(4) Acubadoas, Anamis, Andacaminos, Arkokisa, Bocherete, Coyabegux, Judosa, Kuasse, Mallopeme, Mulatos, Onapiem, Orcan, Palomas, Panequo, Peinhoum, Peissaquo. Petao, Piechar, Pehir, Salapaque, Serecoutcha, Taraha, Teao, Tohaka, Tohau, Tsepcoen, Tsera, Tutelpinco, Tyacappan. (A. C. F.)



MLA Source Citation:

Hodge, Frederick Webb, Compiler. The Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico. Bureau of American Ethnology, Government Printing Office. 1906. AccessGenealogy.com. Web. 16 December 2014. http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/caddoan-indians.htm - Last updated on Oct 4th, 2013


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