The Caddo Indians of Louisiana

The Caddo Indians of Louisiana

Second Edition, Second Printing March 1990

Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism

Louisiana Archaeological Survey and Antiquities Commission

Clarence Webb

Hiram F. Gregory

State Archaeologist's Note

Louisiana's cultural heritage dates back to approximately 10,000 B.C. when man first entered this region. Since that time, many other Indian groups have settled here. All of these groups, as well as the more recent whites and blacks, have left evidence of their presence in the archaeological record. The Anthropological Study series published by the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, Office of Cultural Development, Division of Archaeology, provides a readable account of various activities of these cultural groups.

This booklet, The Caddo Indians of Louisiana, was originally published in 1978 and was the second volume in the Anthropological Study series. The demand for this booklet proved so great that by 1982 it was out of print. For the last three years the Division of Archaeology has received so many requests for this volume that it is now being reissued. The present volume is virtually identical to the previous one with the exception of the illustrations.

Clarence H. Webb, a well-known Shreveport physician and a pioneer in Caddoan studies and Hiram F. Gregory, a professor at Northwestern State University, are the authors of this volume. Combined, they have spent over six decades studying the Indian cultures of the northwestern part of the state. The present volume summarizes a portion of their work in this area. It describes the various prehistoric cultures that were present in this part of Louisiana but concentrates on the Caddo cultural manifestations. It also discusses the Indians' early interaction with European explorers, traders, and missionaries. The archaeological remains of several of the historic Caddo groups are also described.

We are pleased once again to make this booklet available to the people of the state. We trust the reader will enjoy this volume.

Kathleen Byrd


Northwestern Louisiana was occupied by the Caddo Indians during the period of early Spanish, French, and American contacts. By combining history and archaeology, the Caddo story can be traced back for a thousand years-a unique opportunity made possible by a long tradition of distinctive traits, especially in pottery forms and decorations. Our story of the Caddo Indians in Louisiana, therefore, begins around A.D. 800-900 and can be traced by archaeology well into the historic period.

The center of Caddoan occupation during contact times and throughout their prehistoric development was along Red River and its tributaries, with extensions to other river valleys in the four-state area of northern Louisiana, southwestern Arkansas, eastern Texas, and eastern Oklahoma. The successful agriculture of these farming peoples was best adapted to the fertile valleys of major streams like the Red, Sabine, Angelina, Ouachita and-in Oklahoma-the Canadian and Arkansas rivers.

In spite of their linguistic (language) connections with Plains tribes like the Wichita, Pawnee, and Ankara, the Caddos in Louisiana had customs much like those of other Southeastern tribes. They maintained trade and cultural contacts with the lower Mississippi Valley tribes of eastern and southern Louisiana for many centuries.