HSU to host Caddo Indian cultural event

The Caddo Indians played a significant role in the history of Clark County and southwest Arkansas, and they continue to maintain their cultural traditions in the 21st Century.

Henderson State University and the Arkansas Archeological Survey will host the 2015 Caddo Conference March 27-28 where a free public event will illustrate how modern-day Caddo Indians use art, songs, dances, language and oral history to keep their traditions alive.

Free presentations will be held March 28 in Henderson’s Education Center, 1020 Henderson St., from 1:30-4:30 p.m. The Caddo Culture Club from Binger, Okla., will lead a performance of traditional Caddo dances from 5-7 p.m. on the Henderson House’s south lawn.

“We want local teachers, students, and interested residents to come hear Caddos talk about how they are preserving, maintaining, and continuing their culture in the modern day,” said Dr. Mary Beth Trubitt, an archeologist at the Henderson State Research Station.

The annual Caddo Conference brings together researchers, Caddo Indians, and people interested in the language, culture, history, and archaeology of the Caddo Area, Trubitt said. The conference begins March 27. There is a $20 registration fee.

The Caddo Indians lived in several tribal groups in southwest Arkansas and nearby areas of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma from A.D. 1000 to about A.D. 1800, according to state archeologist Dr. Ann Early. When visited by Spanish and French explorers around 1700, they were organized into three allied confederacies: the Kadohadacho on the great bend of the Red River; the Natchitoches in west Louisiana; and the Hasinai in east Texas.

The Cahinnio, who were allies of the Kadohadacho, lived along the Ouachita River. Each confederacy was made up of independent communities, but all had similar languages and customs.

For more information about the conference, contact Trubitt at trubitm@hsu.edu, 870-230-5510, or online at caddoconference.org.

The project is supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.