The Caddos were the most advanced Native American culture in Texas. They lived in tall, grass-covered houses in large settlements with highly structured social, religious and political systems. The Caddos raised corn, beans, squash and other crops.
Most of the Caddo historically lived in the Piney Woods ecoregion of the United States, divided among the state regions of East Texas, southern Arkansas, western Louisiana, and southeastern Oklahoma.
Today, the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a federally recognized tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma. The several Caddo dialects have converged into a single language. Today, there are nearly 5,000 enrolled members of the nation.
The Caddo were a part of a larger religious culture that is found all across the south and Midwest. This is the mound building religion /culture. They are called mound builders because that is what they did, built earth mounds – big ones. They put their temples and chief’s houses on top of these mounds.
The Aztec, Maya, and Inca were very advanced. The had been empires prior to European contact. Teotihuacan was larger and earlier than Cahokia.
Caddo Indian men wore breechcloths, sometimes with leather leggings to protect their legs. Caddo women wore wraparound skirts and poncho tops made of woven fiber and deerskin. Both genders wore earrings and moccasins. Caddo men did not usually wear shirts, but in cold weather, both men and women wore buffalo robes.
Caddo Ritual and Religion. In the late 17th century the Hasinai were said to believe in a supreme god called the Caddi Ayo or Ayo-Caddi-Aymay, sometimes translated as “captain of the sky.” The Caddi Ayo was believed to be the creator of all things and was held in great deference.
The Nacogdoche (Nacadocheeto, Nacodissy, Nacodochito, Nagodoche, Nasahossoz, Naugdoche, Nocodosh) Indians, a Caddoan tribe of the Hasinai group in eastern Texas, lived in the vicinity of present Nacogdoches in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Although the Western Apaches raised some crops in ephemeral gardens and traded goods with various neighboring tribes, they depended heavily on hunting, gathering and raiding for subsistence. The men hunted deer and antelope in the fall, while their sons contributed packrats, birds and rabbits to the family diet.
The Louisiana Caddo moved southwest to join others of the tribe in Texas. There they lived peaceably for a time, but in 1859 threats of a massacre by a vigilante anti-Indian group forced them to flee to east-central Oklahoma, where they settled on a reservation on the banks of the Washita River.
According to some sources, the Karankawa practiced ritual cannibalism, in common with other Gulf coastal tribes of present-day Texas and Louisiana. The Karankawa people were shocked at the Spanish cannibalism, which they found to be repugnant.
Throughout the year, members of the tribe gather for festivals and celebrations on important occasions. The women and young girls wear bright costumes with colorful ribbons. Stepping in time to the rhythm of the Caddo drummers, they dance the traditional dances taught to them by their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers.
Caddo Indian Language (Hatsinai) Caddo is a Caddoan language of the Southern Plains. Only a few dozen speakers remain, mostly elders in Texas and Oklahoma, but the tribe is working to teach the youngest generation of Caddo Indians their ancestral language again.
For hundreds of years, the ancient Caddo people built earthen mounds in the special places where their leaders and priests lived. Some mounds were platforms for grass-thatched temples on top, where priests lived and held special rituals. In other mounds, the Caddo people buried their leaders inside elaborate tombs.
Bison, deer, and fish, were staples of the Karankawa diet, but a wide variety of animals and plants contributed to their sustenance.