Traditions of the Caddo

Traditions of the Caddo

Traditions of the Caddo

Traditions of the Caddo


First encountered by explorer Hernando de Soto in the 16th century, the Caddoan tribes, found along the Red River in present-day Arkansas and Louisiana, practiced agriculture long before they hunted buffalo. These tales vibrate with both earthly and unearthly forces.


The Caddo tales here presented were collected during the years 1903-1905, under the auspices of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and form part of a systematic investigation of the religious system and ceremonial organization of the tribes of the Caddoan stock.

The Caddo, numbering 530 in 1903, are of Caddoan stock, and since 1859 have lived in western Oklahoma between the Washita and Canadian rivers, where they have been closely associated with the Wichita. They retain practically nothing of their ancient culture. Their early home was in Louisiana, on the lower Red River. Later they migrated toward the Texas border, and still later to Brazos River in Texas. They met the whites as early as 1540, and throughout their history have maintained a friendly attitude toward the whites. Like the Wichita, their early habitations were conical grass lodges, and they were agriculturists, hunting the buffalo only within comparatively recent times.

The comparison of the Caddo tales with those of other tribes is deferred until the completion of the present investigation.


Chicago, July 31, 1905.

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