Collection: Notes on the Caddo

Where The Witch Had His Power

There was one witch (naiiti), the most powerful of all. He was an old man and he always wanted to marry young girls. The old people were afraid of him. The chief had a pretty daughter. This witch asked for her. The chief said, “You are too old.” That night the girl died. The chief told his messenger (Puma) to go and kill that witch. He killed him, buried him. Next morning he heard a great explosion from the grave. The witch was alive again in his house. The chief got yuku [medicine men] to tell about him. Yuku said the witch had his power in a little basket with a little bow and arrows under his right armpit. So they killed him again. Under his arm they found the basket. This time he stayed dead. Discover your family's story. Enter a grandparent's name to get started. choose a state: Any AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DE DC FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY INTL Start Now Told by Grayson...

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The Wrestler

There was a village. They would gather the boys to wrestle. One boy was an orphan. He went from place to place. When he found a family good to him he would stay with them. An old man gave him a gun and he went hunting. He brought in a turkey. One evening he did not come back. Next morning he came back. In the evening he left again. They wondered why he was staying out all night. He told them he went turkey hunting. He shot a turkey, it fell across the creek. He heard a voice saying, “My friend, don’t you come. I’ll bring in that turkey.” The boy was scared. The haiyoshötsi brought in the turkey. He and the boy picked it, cooked it, ate it. “Well, my friend, let’s have some fun!” They built a fire. “I will wrestle with you.” He threw him down. They wrestled four times. The haiyoshötsi threw him. Next morning he took the turkey to camp. The haiyoshötsi told him to come back the next night. He went the next night. The haiyoshösi had the fire already built. They wrestled a little while. “Let’s go!” They went through the brush and came to a clearing-nice smooth ground, but it was full of pointed bamboo. The haiyoshötsi was thrown by another haiyoshötsi, the chief. Then the boy wrestled with the chief...

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The Doctor Who Told His Secret

There were two little boys playing all the time together. They were tesha. The folks of one lived away at some distance. The other was the chief’s son. One day they went bird hunting. The chief’s son came back without his friend. On a mountain they had found a big hole. The chief’s son threw the other boy into it. (A chief’s son may be like that overbearing.) He was down there six days. He was crying. Two ravens (o’wa`) flew down. One said, “My boy, we heard you crying. We are going to get you out. Hold to our wings. Put one hand on one of us, one hand on the other. Don’t open your eyes.” They took him up to the sky-where there was another world. They took him back to earth. “Now you are going to be a fine doctor (kona).” They gave him a drum to call them by and a song. “Don’t use it unless it is important! Don’t call for nothing! Don’t tell how you got out, keep it secret.” Now he was p’itauniwan’ha ku o’wa`, partner with Raven. When he came back, they asked him where he had been. “In a hole.” They went to see it. “How did you get out?” He did not know. They kept on asking him and asking him. The little boy cried, finally he said, “They...

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The Clever Boy

There was a mean boy; his mother’s brother, a chief, wanted to kill him. His mother begged him off. The chief said he must not fight at home, but go out to strange Indians to fight. One day the boy disappeared. He came back and shot off his gun .221 He brought in two scalps or heads fully skinned. Now he could do as he liked, his uncle could not say anything to him. He told how he got these head skins. He found a cave and hid in it. Two men came in, made a fire, lay down on either side of it with their backs to the fire. He got up and placed a chunk of coal next to one. He awoke, being scorched, and removed the coal. The boy replaced it. The man woke up angry. Somebody did this, he said, and he accused his friend. He lay down, the boy replaced the coal. Finally the two men fought and killed each other. He took the skins off their head and face. Told by James Ingkanish. Reminiscent of the European Tale of the Clever Little...

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Caddo Tales by Grasshopper

White Moon related a set of “funny stories” told him by old man Grasshopper, some of which are “tall stories” or stories of Spanish picaresque type like those recorded by Handy at Zuni. Grasshopper said that once he lost his horse, it was gone almost a year. And one day he lost his hogs, they were gone a long time. Out hunting one day he saw a bunch of hogs up on a hill. He went up the hill and looked at the hogs; they were his hogs, nice and fat. He saw a tree move, he went up to it, there was his horse. He saw that the tree was growing on the back of the horse. When the horse had left he had a sore back. An acorn had fallen on the sore and grown into a tree. He could not get the tree out. So he cut it off, leaving the stumps of two limbs for a saddle. He drove the horse and the hogs home. A party stopped one night to camp. They always turn their horses loose with the ropes dragging. One man had a big stallion and he always hobbled him at night. It was dark and he thought he would go and hobble his horse. All he could see in the dark was an outline of an animal. He went and hobbled...

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The Caddo Tale of Lion Bridegroom

There was a girl, a pretty girl, the boys came courting her. The girl would not listen to them. One day she went after water, she saw a boy across the creek, she went across and talked to him. He was a handsome boy in a fine buckskin suit. She went back to the river. She talked to him. She took him to her folks, they got married. In the fall people went hunting and the boy went out with his gun. He brought nothing back. The girl’s dogs were starved. They said, “Well, younger sister (tahai’), we are going to follow our brother (kinitsi)to see what he does that he brings back nothing to eat.” So they followed him. They went to the edge of the timber, they saw him lay down his cartridge belt, lay his gun against a tree, lie down and roll over several times and stand up as a lion. They ran back and told the woman to leave, he was not a man. “He will come back and eat us up.” So she went. She told the five dogs to stay in camp to bother him so he could not overtake her quickly. After she had gone on she heard the dogs barking. She could hear only three of them, the little five dogs (pito’si), the two big ones were killed already. Then...

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Application of Terms in Caddo Genealogical Tables

a’a, father, father’s brother Gen. I, 42 > Gen. I, 10 father Gen. II, 65 > Gen. II, 47 father Gen. I, 42 > Gen. I, 7 father’s brother   Gen. II, 30>Gen. II, 8 father’s brother Gen. II, 25 > Tom Shemamy, brother of Gen. II, 7 father’s brother Gen. III, 24 > Gen. III, 12 father’s half brother (a’atete) Gem I, 61 > (in theory) Gen. I, 30 father’s father’s brother’s son Gen. I, 42 > Gen. II, 17 grandmother’s husband. They lived in the same house, whereas the father of Gen. I, 42 lived elsewhere. By Whites Gen. I, 42 was accounted the son of Gen. II, 17 and given as a patronymic the name of Gen. II, 17. Gen. II, 15 > Gen. II, 5 a very old man who lives in her household Gen. II, 7 > Chief Whitebread his kinship is obscure to White Moon, who lives in the same household. his “uncle” to whom he was apprentice in the chieftaincy The term is applied to chiefs and to supernaturals–a’asa, (R. a’asaGu), Father Sun; God or Jesus, a’aGuna’Ga’i, father, doctor, powerful or strong (R.); a’asikao, Father Ear i.e. Peyote. ĭn’a’. mother mother’s sister Gen. II, 37 > Gen. II, 15 mother Gen. I, 42 > Gen. I, 14 stepmother; also by her English name, Margaret Gen. II, 63 > Gen. II, 44 mother’s...

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Additional Caddo Families or Persons

Fort Cobb Brave or Tom Keys (Gen. I, 37); and his wife, Nettie Pardon; and his brother (Gen. I, 11). Dora Keys, the sister of Tom Keys, a widow; and one child. Fritz Hendricks (Gen. I, 47); and his wife. Harry Age (Chuitsi, Cry-baby) (Gen. III, 17), brother of Stanley and Jerome Age. See Boggy Creek. East of Fort Cobb Basindiba; and his wife who is the mother of Ben Carter. Sister of Ben Carter; and her husband. Anadarko Ben Carter; and his wife. James Ingkanish; and his wife, a Cheyenne (Gen. III, 12, 13). Henry Ingkanish; and his wife (Gen. III, 18, 19). Binger Chasukushi (Bangs-cut-off), who is the daughter of Snow-chief; and her husband. Shikapu’t’iti, Little Kickapoo or Frank Douglas. The French-Caddo woman (Gen. II, 10); and her husband. Amos Longhat (Gen. I, 23; Gen. II, 11), his second wife and her...

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Caddo Government

Between the northern and southern divisions of the tribe the prime distinction is in the chieftaincy. Each division has its own chief (kadhi’). 1See Harrington, 149; Joutel, 353, 379. In missions to Washington both chiefs are expected to participate. One division would not be properly represented by the chief of the other division.  Since 1896 Enoch Hoag (Gen. 1, 7) has been chief at Sugar Creek. The Fort Cobb chieftaincy is for the moment unfilled, Francis Longhat,14 the chief, having lately died. Harry Age (chuitsi) 2White Moon translates cry-baby, coward, sissy, more-like-a-woman. Pardon would not translate chowitsi, as he called Harry Age. The term is obviously opprobrious. (Gen. III, 17), the interpreter, is being talked of for chief. (In 1922 he became chief.) To Francis Longhat, 3Brother of Gen. I, 23 and of Gen. II, 24. the deceased chief, Harry Age is unrelated in blood; but Francis was his stepfather. The office of chief, as far as the evidence goes, is non-hereditary, strictly speaking at least. Naturally enough a kinsman or family connection might be chosen for apprentice, but the criterion for selection to office is successful assistantship or apprenticeship. When Francis himself was talked of as chief, some one had objected, saying, “He does not know how to be a chief.” But Stephen Martin (Gen. II, 17) for one, had disagreed, referring to the fact that as a...

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Kinship of the Caddo

Of any clanship system White Moon had never heard, and, whatever approach to the subject we made, he remained consistently unaware of clan groups. White Moon was born in 1897, and it seemed not improbable that his ignorance of clanship was characteristic of the younger generation of the tribe; but Ingkanish20 and Pardon were equally ignorant of any clanship is system, present or past. And yet, in 1890-1891, Mooney recorded among the Caddo the existence of clans, the names of which, as words merely, were verified by White Moon as follows: Mooney White Moon Sun Thunder Eagle Panther Raccoon Beaver Crow Bear Wolf Buffalo or Alligator sûko ka’găhănĭn iwi kĭshi oăt ta’o ka’g’aih na’wotsi tasha ta’năha or koho’ Sako adihanin iwi’ kishi ut’ t’ao’ kak’aih nao’tsi tasha 1Also called tsudachittsi, sharp nose. tanahakohuh White Moon himself suggested that these names might have been the names of supernatural helpers, a relationship merely personal, entirely unrelated to kinship.” Possibly White Moon’s theory of Mooney’s data is correct. 2Compare the account Ingkanish has given of the Beaver doctor, p. 34. Yet it is not unlikely that a clan system once existed. 3Just as, analogously, the names of Pueblo Indian societies have sometimes been recorded as clan names. The Isletan Tiwa regularly refer to their matrilineal, non-exogamic, ceremonial groups as “clans.” No clanship system has been found among other Caddoan tribes. Among Shawnee...

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Northern Division Family Groups

The localized family groups of which I have information are all in the northern division, to which White Moon belongs. He is less familiar with the family groupings in the southern division; he opines that in the southern division there is less concentration by family. Kuhaiyu Here there are four houses occupied by several descendants of Gen. I, 1 and 2, White Moon’s paternal grandparents. House 1: Enoch Hoag (Gen. I, 7), chief; and his wife, a Delaware; and their daughter and son-in-law. (Their son lives at Lookeba, his wife’s home.) House 2: Sam Houston (Gen. I, 24); and his wife, Bertha Deer, a Muskogee, and their daughter; and Leg-shaker (Gen. I, 46), maternal cousin of Sam Houston. House 3: Seywit’ (Gen. I, 28); and her husband, Little-boy; and their son. (Visited by her sister, Little-girl and family; but Littlegirl lives at her husband’s settlement, Mrs. Peach Orchard’s.) House 4: Little-black-head (Gen. I, 44) and his wife, Elsie Hendricks (Gen. I, 45, probably the daughter of Gen. I, 21); and their child. (Visited by his mother, Mrs. Curly; but Mrs. Curly lives at Mrs. Peach Orchard’s.) In this settlement there is a fifth house, now empty, but formerly occupied by cousins of Enoch Hoag. There is also an earth house, a square dugout, with peak roof of timber, 1Such houses are common, they are for storage of pumpkins, etc....

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Caddo Stomp Dance and Turkey Dance

Turkey Dance The Caddo Turkey dance (R. nu’Gano’caniya’: nu’, turkey, cano’caniya’, going to dance) is danced by women only, circling two by two around the centre pole, their step a turkey trot. To sing for them is a choir of three or four men, who sit down around their drum, anywhere convenient. There is no dance leader. The dancers wear a broadcloth blanket, lots of bead work, and tied to their hair-braid at the back a plaque studded with small mirrors and brass tacks, with ribbons pendent. Neither in connection with this dance nor at other times is there any ceremonial use of turkey feathers, and turkeys are eaten. The Turkey dance is not accounted a religious dance, it is merely “to pass the day away.” 1It was danced among other dances when Absentee Shawnee visited the Caddo “to make friends” through gift exchange (1882-1891) (Voegelin). There are other pleasure dances performed not on the dance floor but off to the south side. GakiDia’naGa’ (R.) (“You are in front of somebody”) Two big fires are built, east and west, from ten to fifteen yards apart, and around them anti-sunwise circuits are danced. A man leader gives a shout and other men fall in behind him, the leader singing, the others singing back. After the men have made this start the women fall in, two women behind two men, the...

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Supernatural Beliefs of the Caddo Indians

Grandfather or Father Sun, Earth (wadat’ina: wadat’, earth, ĭn’ă, mother), 1Cp. Mooney, 1096, 1098; Pawnee, Dorsey 3: 14. Fire (ibat’niko: ibat, grandfather, niko, fire), 2Ingkanish refers to “Mother Fire.” Lightning (ika adinin: ika, grandmother, adinin, lightning), Thunder (R. iGahabaGanswa, grandmother, noise maker, see p. 16), 3ika hobakan’ naswa’wa, grandmother, make a noise, going everywhere (Pardon). He also referred to ibat ihinin, Grandfather Thunder, to ina koko, Mother Water, ina wadat, Mother Earth, a’a’ sako, Father Sun. Winds, 4Hohutu. “Wind is spoken of as somebody.” Cyclone, God, 5Năă’, father above: ăă’ father, na above (Mooney, 1103). Early in the eighteenth century two Spanish Franciscan missions were established among the Caddo; in Oklahoma, Baptist, Episcopalian, and Catholic missions were established in 1872, 1881, and 1894 (Handbook). all are referred to by White Moon as supernatural beings, but so vaguely that in his mind, at least, they appear to have little religious import. Whereas to ghosts and to certain animals a more definite significance attaches. The relationship with the animals is the familiar one of supernatural helper, or, in White Moon’s phrase, partner – pi’DO’niwana’gu (R.), “two are partners with” 6R, tsi toniwana’ Gu, I am partner with. e.g. bear or panther or screech owl or lightning, pi’Do’niu’ana’ cu nauutsi or Gici” 7In translating this term White Moon prefers to say tiger, not panther. “There are still a few tigers in Wichita...

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Caddo Stories

Stories were told at night, in winter (Pardon). The boys had to bathe in the creek early in the morning before the night of story telling. While listening to the story they had to sit straight. If the story was not told right it would turn cold. Caddo Creation Story The Caddo Tale of Lion Bridegroom Caddo Tales by Grasshopper The Clever Boy The Doctor Who Told His Secret The Wrestler Where The Witch Had His...

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Caddo Creation Story

White Moon knew little if anything of the tradition of tribal emergence from cave or underground 1See Mooney, 1093-1094. They came up from under the ground through the mouth of a cave in a hill which they call cha’kanĭ’nă, “the place of crying,” on a lake close to the south bank of Red River, just at its junction with the Mississippi. In those days men and animals were all brothers and all lived together under the ground. But at last they discovered the entrance to the cave leading up to the surface of the earth, and so they decided to ascend and come out. First an old man climbed up, carrying in one hand fire and a pipe and in the other a drum. After him came his wife, with corn and pumpkin seeds. Then followed the rest of the people and the animals. All intended to come out, but as soon as the wolf had climbed up he closed the hole, and shut up the rest of the people and animals under the ground, where they still remain. Those who had come out sat down and cried a long time for their friends below, hence the name of the place. Because the Caddo came out of the ground they call it ină’, mother, and go back to it when they die. Because they have had the pipe and...

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