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Texas Lakes Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Caddo Heritage


Caddo pottery at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site
Caddo pottery at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site

MORE THAN MOUND BUILDERS

The Caddo Indians dominated much of the eastern region of Texas for more than 500 years (A.D. 800-1300). One of the most significant sites of the Caddo is preserved and ready for visitors at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site, west of Nacogdoches. Here, temple mounds accompany a burial mound and village and their remains, now under the protection of the Texas Historical Commission, reflect a remarkable societal and cultural complexity that is still not fully understood.

The Caddo, considered a loose affiliation of kin-based bands living in East Texas (the Hasinai), along the Red River near what was known as the Great Bend (the Kadohadacho), and on the stretch of the Red near Natchitoches (the Natchitoches), developed a highly integrated agrarian lifestyle. Caddo lived in farm and village communities, establishing civic-ceremonial centers, designating social and political authority, and promulgating a thriving agricultural based economy. Horticulture included domesticated corns, beans, and squash as well as native grasses and sunflowers, providing an abundance of food grains supplemented by hunting and fishing. The Caddo affluence afforded the acquisition of trade goods such as copper and turquoise and the development of the arts such as ornamentation and, in particular, ceramics. Caddo pottery is still considered some of the finest native pottery in the nation. Today, the Caddo Nation, headquartered in Binger, Oklahoma, strives to preserve traditional art, language, and life-ways of the Caddo people.

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Read more about Caddo Indians in the Handbook of Texas Online.