Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Caddo People

Beginning to get a handle on the Caddo people thanks in large part to a very nicely written book -- Cecile Elkins Carter's Caddo Indians: Where We Came From (University of Oklahoma Press, 1995). Through page 203, the Caddo have yet to directly encounter or have to deal with English people of any stripe. So far, it's other First Nations (allies like the Wichita, enemies like the Apache and Osage), Spanish and French. It's a very complex story, as much so as Game of Thrones and with as much at stake existentially. As mentioned in an earlier post, Texas derives its name from the Caddo. Up until the American Revolution, they managed to keep their basic way of life, a settled one, mostly intact, despite disease and conflict between the European-based powers.The Spanish empire took one approach, the French another. The Caddo and other people accepted Europeans among them, but did not adapt to Spanish way as the latter, through Catholic missions and small contingents of soldiers attached to presidios, imagined and hoped they would. The French, in even smaller numbers than the Spanish on the frontier, were more pragmatic, and the Caddo got along with them better. The French were more willing to adapt some of the Caddo way of life, and some members of the two groups had children together, tying them more closely together -- especially in Louisiana. But over time the big European wars began to have more of an impact. In 1763, the Seven Years War -- or French and Indian War, as its North American component is often called -- resulted in the British takeover of the far East and North, and Spanish control of (or claim to) the South, including Louisiana Territory.

As far as Caddo autonomy, matters would get much worse after the American Revolution. On that, more to come. The Caddo do remain in 2012, but no longer live as a group on the same ancestral lands they inhabited in the 1600s and 1700s. After the severe trials and tribulations of the 1800s with the coming of Anglo-Texans and other settlers out of the United States, it's amazing they survived at all.

Today's Rune: Partnership.


Charles Gramlich said...

Interesting that the French were much more liberal in their relationships with the Caddos than the Spanish were.

jodi said...

Erik, I can't believe how many Indian tribe there were! Seems the French are usually liberal when it came to marrying Indians. My heritage shows French/Indian connections!