“THOSE WE CALL FRIENDS”
The Caddo were farmers who lived in East Texas. There were two main groups of the Caddo in Texas. One major Caddo tribe was the Kadohadacho. The Kadohadacho lived in large villages along the Red river near the present day Oklahoma - Arkansas border. The other was the Tejas or Hasinais Caddo who lived around present day Nacogdoches. In fact, modern Nacogdoches is built on top of one of the largest of the old Hasinai villages.
The Hasinai were made up of several tribes organized into a confederacy. They called the confederacy the Tejas. Tejas is the Spanish spelling of the Caddo word and it is pronounced Te-haas. Sound familiar? TEXAS!!! Yup, Texas is a Caddoan word. It means "those who are friends". The Tejas Caddo tribes were all "friends".
The Kadohadache seem to have been one large tribe. They had a main village were the paramount chief lived and a number of satellite villages up and down the Red river.
There are a number of closely related tribes who also speak versions of the Caddo language. The Wichita, and the Pawnee are two important tribes who speak a form of Caddoan. If this confuses you, think of English. The English speak English, and so do Americans, Canadians and Australians. A long time ago the Caddos, the Pawnee and the Wichita were all in the same tribe. They divided up and moved apart long ago. Their myths claim they all came out of Arkansas and this is very possible.
WHERE THEY LIVED,
The Caddo lived in east Texas in the piney forests. Look at the map of East Texas Indian lands. Their territory extended into Louisiana. Arkansas and Oklahoma. This region has a good annual rainfall and is in a temperate region. This is a good climate for farming. There are many springs, creeks, streams and several large rivers in this area. There are also many large and small lakes, along with some large swamps. Although pine trees are the most common trees found here, there are many other kinds of trees growing in the piney woods. Along the river bottoms there are many hardwood trees such as oak, walnut, pecan and a tree called bois de arc. The pecan and walnut trees provided good nuts to eat along with their wood. The bois de arc is an important tree to the Caddo. It has a strong and flexible wood. Because it is so strong and flexible it is perfect for making bows for shooting arrows. Bows and arrows were the favorite weapon for hunting and for war. The bois de arc only grows in this region, so the Caddo had all the bois de arc wood. They didn't just make bows for themselves. They made bows to trade with other Indian tribes who did not have bois de arc wood.
Because they lived in the woods they used wood for many things. To cut down trees they used stone axes. Here is a stone axe. These were not very sharp and cutting down a tree took a long time and a lot of work.