Friday, April 29, 2011

Four Canyons Preserve, a Nature Conservancy Project in north western Oklahoma


Photograph courtesy of the Nature Conservancy website

Chris Hise, Director of the Four Canyons Preserve will be taking us for a tour of the back roads and fascinating and unusual spots in the preserve, a rugged and rural spot in north western Oklahoma. On the edge of the preserve are shinnery oak. I find these particularly interesting as they spread underground from rhizomes and are rarely any taller than four feet turning into beautfiul thickets of red vegetation in the fall.

Quercus havardii (common names include shinnery oak, shin oak and Havard oak) is a deciduous, low-growing, thicket-forming shrub that occupies some 2 to 3 million ha in the southern Great Plains of North America.[2] Clones may reach hundreds to thousands of years old, although aboveground stems typically live only 11 to 15 years. Shinnery oak stems are usually 1-2 m tall and codominate the plant community with mid- and tall-grasses which are usually taller than the oaks.
Form: A low shrub to 2 m or occasionally a small tree, Q. havardii forms large clonal thickets by extending rhizomes through the sandy soil where it is usually found.[4] Rhizomes range from 3-15 cm in diameter and are concentrated in upper 60 cm of soil, although penetration depths of 9 m has been reported. Lateral roots and woody rhizomes are widespread near the soil surface. Ninety percent or more of shinnery oak's biomass is under ground, and fortuitous root grafting is common. These underground stems commonly spread to form plants 3 to 15 m or more in diameter. Single clones are reported to cover up to 81 ha and to achieve ages over 13,000 years.[2]

The Conservancy's Four Canyon Preserve encompasses 4,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie, rugged canyons, and floodplain along the Canadian River in southern Ellis County. Scenic prairie ridges traverse the landscape, dissected by deep chinquapin oak-lined canyons draining to the river. These prairies provide habitat for a number of rare grassland birds, such as Cassin's sparrow and Swainson's hawk, and additional species of concern including reptiles like the Texas horned lizard, as well as numerous state-rare plants. The cool, wooded canyons stand in contrast to the surrounding prairies, and provide habitat for birds like red-bellied woodpecker and painted bunting. The Canadian River on the preserve provides habitat for the federally endangered least tern, the threatened Arkansas River shiner, as well as stopover habitat for migratory shorebirds including the sandhill crane.
Biodiversity Threats in the area include habitat fragmentation and loss, invasive plant species such as eastern redcedar, saltcedar, and old world bluestem, hydrologic alteration, and incompatible land management practices.
What the Conservancy is doing now will restore ecological function and integrity to this landscape. Following an initial rest period, prescribed fire will be used to control the spread of invasive eastern redcedar and to manage the habitat for wildlife. Efforts are underway to remove exotic plants such as old world bluestem from native prairie areas and to clear saltcedar from the Canadian River floodplain.
In time, the Conservancy will work cooperatively with other area landowners to conduct prescribed burns aimed at enhancing prairie habitat across the region. The critical habitat in and around the Four Canyon Preserve is home to one of Oklahoma's last remaining populations of the imperiled lesser prairie chicken. Successful management for this species will help sustain healthy populations of some of North America's most threatened grassland birds.
The Nature Conservancy is working hard and partnering with others to preserve the biodiversity of the mixed grass prairie and the shortgrass prairie. Chris Hise will tell us all about their conservation efforts in this unique habitat. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Katherine Liontas-Warren receives Bhattacharya Research Excellence Award

Winter Forest, courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren, copyright

Artist Katherine Liontas Warren whom we will be interviewing and visiting the Wichita Mountains near Lawton, Oklahoma on May 7th has just received an award for excellence, research and her contribution to the academic community of Cameron University. See link below to read more about it. Come to this blog on May 8th to see production stills and information about our day of shooting with Katherine.

Cameron University faculty members Dr. Thomas Labé and Katherine Liontas-Warren were honored last night with awards recognizing their contributions to Cameron’s academic community. Labé received the Award for Excellence and Innovation in Instructional Technology Integration. Liontas-Warren is the inaugural recipient of the Bhattacharya Research Excellence Award. Each received a stipend and a recognition plaque.
photo of award winners
“It is a pleasure to recognize these dedicated educators for their outstanding commitment and contributions to student learning while also sharing their many talents with our local and extended communities,” says Dr. John McArthur, Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Members of the Cameron faculty nominated their colleagues for the awards. To be eligible, the award recipient must have been employed full-time at Cameron University for at least three years in a position with teaching as the primary responsibility.
Bhattacharya Research Excellence Award
Made possible by the Sanjit Bhattacharya Endowed Lectureship for Excellence in Research, the Bhattacharya Research Excellence Award is presented for the first time this year to Katherine Liontas-Warren, Professor of Art and a member of the Cameron faculty for 25 years. Liontas-Warren has made consistently outstanding creative contributions in her field, has earned a national reputation as a printmaker and has exhibited her work internationally. In addition to her commitment to Cameron students, Liontas-Warren creates a substantial body of work each year as a practicing artist. Her work is frequently recognized in competitive juried exhibitions, and she is highly sought after to share her expertise in print and drawing media as a workshop presenter. To aid in her scholarly pursuits, Liontas-Warren has been awarded research grants, most recently used to develop a series of figure drawings working directly from the model. Her work was exhibited at the Oklahoma State Capitol earlier this year, and she is currently featured in a solo exhibit at the Kemp Center for the Arts in Wichita Falls.

Winter Nest courtesy of Katherine Liontas-Warren copyright

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grace Grothaus and the New Landscape

Grace Grothaus is a landscape painter but not in the traditional sense. She wants us to see the true representation of the world we live in today not an idealized romanticized version.  Her landscapes are made up of many layers of plexiglas containing layers of paint. collage elements, incised lines or electronic light elements. I have the sense that they are very luminous seeing the reproductions of her many layered works but we will get the real feel of them when we see them in person and interview her on May 12th in her Tulsa, Oklahoma studio for our documentary. We chose Grace both for the uniqueness of her work and also how differently she looks at her environment in Oklahoma from some of the other artists we will be interviewing. The images begin with aerial photographs of farmland, industrial sites, river systems and city grids. Nature is imposed upon by the hand of man.....

Excerpts from the article on Art 365, Five Oklahoma Artists receive grants including Grace Grothaus. Read more about Grace's project below.....

365 Degrees and Rising

The city's arts seasons are heating up as seasons change. And one project, Art 365 just gets hotter as its diverse exhibits zoom toward critical mass


Tulsa artist Grace Grothaus was one of five artists selected to participate in Art 365. Herexhibition, OK Landscape: From cornfields or oilfields shows Oklahoma as a grid of oilrefineries occasionally disrupted by the organic contours of rivers, lakes and natural terrain.

Tulsa artist Grace Grothaus was one of five artists selected to participate in Art 365. Her exhibition, OK Landscape: From cornfields or oilfields shows Oklahoma as a grid of oil refineries occasionally disrupted by the organic contours of rivers, lakes and natural terrain.

The Oklahoma Visual Artist Coalition, or OVAC, is another such organization that is contributing to this effort through a unique exhibition for Oklahoma artists called Art 365.
Since it began in 2008, Art 365 has been successful in bringing national recognition to Oklahoma artists as well as providing the necessary means to keep artists working in Oklahoma.
"We view the exhibition as an investment in research and development for the artists," said Julia Kirt, executive director of OVAC. "Art 365 fulfills specific needs for area artists to receive both funding and feedback, allowing them to explore their vision and improve their work."
This year's Art 365 curator Shannon Fitzgerald chose five artists out of 102 proposals to each receive a $12,000 honorarium toward creating a body of work for the Art 365 exhibition.

After selecting the five artists she most wanted to work with for the exhibition, Fitzgerald's responsibilities as curator include meeting intermittently with each artist as a means of discussing their ideas, offering guidance and pushing their visions to their full potential.
As a contemporary art curator and art writer, Fitzgerald is well experienced in instigating this sort of dialogue and has proven to be an extremely valuable asset to the artists and the exhibition.
"Art 365" demonstrates in the most visibly exciting way -- that deserving artists, when provided tangible creative, intellectual, and financial support, excel," Fitzgerald said.
Let's get down to it, though. Art 365 supports Oklahoma artists financially and publicly, so let's meet this year's group.

Covering the Land
Art 365 has taken Tulsa artist Grace Grothaus high into the sky and around the entire state of Oklahoma in preparation for her body of work titled, OK Landscape: From cornfields or oilfields.
Grothaus is preparing 10 back-lit paintings for the exhibition, each an aerial view from various locations across Oklahoma.
"People have an idea of what landscape is but it doesn't exist anymore," Grothaus said.
In the first stage of her creative process, Grothaus hired a pilot to fly her from Green Country to the Oklahoma panhandle to take aerial photographs depicting the encompassing effect industry has played on the landscape of Oklahoma. Photography is not a medium she works in frequently but was the most successful option for obtaining the kind of imagery she would later incorporate into her paintings. Grothaus primarily works as a landscape painter.
Her images show Oklahoma as a grid of oil refineries occasionally disrupted by the organic contours of rivers, lakes and natural terrain.
Photographing the terrain was merely the first step in creating her work for the exhibition. From there, she enlarges the photos to a size of two-by-four feet and begins the process of building up the image through application of mylar, paint, electronics and natural objects such as leaves and sticks. Her final product walks the line between painting and sculpture as her inventive layering process changes the dimension of her work.
Additional to the numerous mixed media elements she incorporates within her paintings, Grothaus also utilizes light as a key player in her work. Each piece is framed so that it is backlit by a light located inside the frame. For this effect to work Grothaus is careful to keep the layers on the surface translucent. "For me, light and shadow are as important as hue and tint," Grothaus said.
To add another level of complexity to her work, she intends to implement LED lights functioning as motion detectors into each piece. The lights will correspond to the viewer's movement as they move closer to the painting.
She does not want her paintings to be viewed as an attack on the oil industry. Her intent is to simply show viewers what their environment truly looks like, that it is not the same as the one that have pictured in their heads. "I know my work will be successful if people take the paintings home with them, whether or not they bought one," she said.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dr. Ian Thompson, Choctaw Tribal Archaeologist

Photograph of River Cane courtesy of Dr. Ian Thompson

We are very thankful to Dr Ian Thompson , Choctaw Nation archaeologist, anthropologist and artist for allowing us to interview him and some of the tribal elders for our Oklahoma documentary. He will be taking us to a site along the river near Brown, Oklahoma where we can see the endangered freshwater mussels which are one of the essential ingredients added to the native clay which they dig for their pots. Their endangered status is due to water pollution. We will also visit a place where river cane grows  and is also endangered. Ian told me that years ago before his time one could see three miles of river cane at a location as far as the eye could see but now there are only patches. He will be telling us about it's uses for the Choctaw and we will interview Sue Folsom about the various crafts and traditions that are being revived. We will also be talking to the Tribal Language Department about the Choctaw language. As Ian expressed it to me for the Choctaw "language codes your thoughts". It will be fascinating to explore what this means.
We will be visiting a class where Choctaw traditional pottery is being taught. I am not going to say anymore about all of the information we will hearing and saying in our visit to Durant, OK as I have SO much to learn and will be sharing much more in our documentaries and on this blog May 15-16 while we are there, except to add this information from wikipedia below.
Also go to

The Choctaw (alternatively spelt as Chahta, Chactas, Chato, Tchakta, Chocktaw, and Chactaw) are a Native American people originally from the Southeastern United States (Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, and Louisiana). The Choctaw language belongs to the Muskogean linguistic group. Noted 20th century anthropologist John Swanton suggested that the name was derived from a Choctaw leader.[2] Henry Halbert, a historian, suggests that their name is derived from the Choctaw phrase Hacha hatak (river people).[3]
The Choctaw are descendants of the Mississippian culture and Hopewellian people, who lived throughout the east of the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries. The early Spanish explorers of the 16th century encountered their ancestors.[4] In the 19th century, the Choctaw were known as one of the "Five Civilized Tribes" because they adopted and integrated numerous cultural and technological practices of their European American colonial neighbors. The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians are the two primary Choctaw associations today, although smaller Choctaw groups are located in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas.
During the American Revolution, most Choctaw supported the Thirteen Colonies' bid for independence from the British Crown. The Choctaw and the United States agreed to nine treaties. The last three treaties (Treaty of Doak's Stand, Washington City, and Dancing Rabbit) were designed to deracinate most Choctaw west of the Mississippi River.
U.S. President Andrew Jackson made the Choctaw exile a model of Indian removal making them the first Native Americans to travel on the Trail of Tears. The Choctaw were exiled (to the area now called Oklahoma) because the U.S. desired to expand territory available for settlement to European Americans,[5] wanted to save them from extinction,[6] and wanted to acquire their natural resources.[7]
With ratification in 1831 of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, those Choctaws who chose to stay in the newly formed state of Mississippi were the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens.[8][9][10][11] Article 22 sought to put a Choctaw representative in the U.S. House of Representatives.[8] The Choctaw began to seek political representation in the Congress of the United States in 1830.[12] During the Great Irish Famine (1845–1849) nearly twenty years prior to the founding of the Red Cross, the Choctaw were noted for their generosity in providing humanitarian relief for the people of Ireland.[13] During the American Civil War, the Choctaw in both Oklahoma and Mississippi mostly sided with the Confederate States of America.
After the Civil War, the Mississippi Choctaw fell into obscurity. The Choctaw in Oklahoma struggled to maintain a nation. In World War I, they served in the U.S. military as the first Native American codetalkers, using the Choctaw language as a natural code.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Henry Moy, Director of the Museum of the Red River

Henry Moy

Henry Moy, (BA, MAT) Director
Prior to taking up his post in 1997 as Director of the Museum of the Red River, Henry served as director of museums and chair of the Museum Studies program at Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin. His activities in professional organizations include having been a committee member, board member, and/or officer of the following: the Congress of Illinois Historical Societies and Museums, the Wisconsin Federation of Museums, the Midwest Museums Council, and the American Association of Museums. Henry has presented papers at conferences, organized professional symposia, reviewed grants for the Institute of Museum and Library Services and various state agencies. He has also been a consultant to several museums and arts organizations, including Exhibits USA of the Mid-America Arts Alliance, the Oklahoma Museums Association, the E.T. Dunlap Higher Learning Center Foundation, and the Chinatown (Chicago) Museum Foundation. He serves on the boards of the McCurtain Community Fund, the Idabel Rotary Club, and the Idabel Chamber of Commerce.

Museum of the Red River, Henry Moy Director

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Henry Moy, director of the Museum of the Red River is graciously lodging us while we are in Idabel, Oklahoma.
Some of the finest examples of North American Indian Art and artifacts can be seen at the Museum of the Red River in Idabel, Oklahoma. The museum opened its doors in 1975 to house objects dating from 10,000 years ago to historic times that were being discovered locally. The museum's collections gradually expanded to include objects from southeastern Oklahoma, northeastern Texas, and southwestern Arkansas: the Caddoan Archaeological Area. The Caddo had been active in this area from about 900 to 1700, and their artifacts were well represented. The early collections also included artifacts from the Choctaw, who had been forcibly transferred into Oklahoma from Mississippi in the 1830's. We will be visiting the Choctaw Nation through the assistance of Dr. Ian Thompson, archaeologist, anthropologist and artist. There will be more on this in my next blog. The Museum of the Red River is where Jeri Redcorn first saw the pottery of her ancestors and was inspired to revive it. For more on Jeri go to the past two blog posts.
Henry Moy will show us the Caddo and Choctaw collections and talk about them and their significance with us. I am excited to see this collection in person. I remember being so excited when the Nelson Rockefeller Collection of Prehistoric Art opened at the Met I couldn't wait to get there. In those days I was a potter and very inspired by the ancient pots. Altho I concentrate on painting and drawing now the passion remains. Go to the Museum of the Red River website to find out about how the museum has expanded their focus and collections.
Here is some information on the Nelson Rockefeller Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas
This department houses the Met's collections of African art, antiquities and artifacts from the Americas (north and south) and Oceania, dating from 2000 BCE. It received a huge boost in 1969, when Nelson A. Rockefeller gifted his 3,000-item collection to the museum, and now comprises some 11,000 pieces displayed in the 40,000-square-foot Rockefeller Wing. Highlights of the Met's African, Oceanic, and the American collection include examples of tribal artfrom around the globe, Australian Aboriginal Paleolithic art, as well as a priceless assembly of ceremonial and personal items from the Nigerian Court of Benin.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Jeri Redcorn revives Caddo pottery tradition

“How a little girl from Washita County grew up to be an international artistic ambassador, her work admired by the most powerful couple in the world, is a fascinating story.  Redcorn also is a wife, mother, and has been an artist in residence at the Art Institute of Chicago.”    Doug Hill, Norman Transcript.

In the Art Institute of Chicago, Hero, Hawk & Open Hand, Jeri tells her story of reviving Caddo Pottery and connecting to her cultural past.  After seeing Caddo vessels in a museum, so compelling were these beautiful pieces, Jeri began a search to reclaim her history.  As there was no active potter in the Caddo tribe, Jeri began to teach herself.  Thus began her journey to rediscover the art of Caddo clay.

Jeri saw the pots of her ancestors, a tradition that had been lost except in exhibition in museums. We will be going to the Museum of the Red River and interviewing the director Henry Moy where Jeri saw her first ancient Caddo pots.
She now mentors others in the art of Caddo pottery which she hand coils, burnishes with stones, engraves and wood fires. If the weather permits we will see her do a firing as well as looking at her pots in progress and completed.
white house bottle


This pot was chosen by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama to become part of the White House collection and sits on the president's desk where he will see it every day. It is entitled "Intertwining Scrolls" and we will talk to Jeri more about the symbolism in her pots when we interview her in May.
Come back to this blog to see production stills and hear more about Jeri before our documentaries premiere in Fall 2011.

"Intertwining Scrolls" courtesy of Jeri Redcorn copyright

Jeri Redcorn and the Caddo Nation

This piece courtesy of Jeri Redcorn copyright. This is her Turkey Dance Tripod and was recently presented to Justice Sandra Day O'Connor who did the turkey dance with Jeri. The Turkey Dance, Nuh-Koa-Shun is the most ceremonial of the Caddo dances and is a victory dance. We will be interviewing Jeri at her home and studio in Norman Oklahoma. 
The Caddo Nation is a confederacy of several Southeastern Native American tribes, who traditionally inhabited much of what is now East Texas, northernLouisiana and portions of southern Arkansas and Oklahoma. Today the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is a cohesive tribe with its capital at Binger, Oklahoma. The different Caddo languages have converged into a single language. The Caddo Nation is a federally recognized tribe. They were previously known as the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. A tribal constitution provides for a tribal council consisting of eight members with a chairperson, based in Binger, Oklahoma.[2] The tribal complex, dance grounds, and the Caddo Heritage Museum are located south of Binger. 5000 people are enrolled in the tribe, with 2500 living within the state of Oklahoma. The tribe operates its own housing authority and issues its own tribal vehicle tags.[1] They maintain administrative centers, dance grounds, several community centers, and an active NAGPRA office.
Several programs exist to invigorate Caddo traditions. The tribe sponsors a summer culture camp for children.[3] The Hasinai Society[4] and Caddo Culture Club[5] both keep Caddo songs and dances alive, while the Kiwat Hasinay Foundation is dedicated to preserving the Caddo language.[6] 


Map of the Caddoan Mississippian culture and some important sites
The Caddo are thought to be an extension of Woodland period peoples, the Fourche Maline culture and Mossy Grove cultures who were living in the area of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas between 200 BCE to 800 CE.[8] The Wichita and Pawnee are related to the Caddo, as shown by their speaking Caddoan languages. By 800 CE this society had begun to coalesce into the Caddoan Mississippian culture. Some villages began to gain prominence as ritual centers, with elite residences and temple mound constructions. The mounds were arranged around open plazas, which were usually kept swept clean and were often used for ceremonial occasions. As complex religious and social ideas developed, some people and family lineages gained prominence over others.[8] By 1000 CE a society that is defined as "Caddoan" had emerged. By 1200 the numerous villages, hamlets, and farmsteads established throughout the Caddo world had begun extensive maize agriculture.[8] Their artistic skills and earthwork mound-building flourished during the 12h and 13th centuries.[9] Spiro mounds, some of the most elaborate in the United States, were made by ancestors of the Caddo and Wichita.[10] The Caddo were farmers and enjoyed good growing conditions most of the time. However, the Pineywoods were affected by the Great Drought, from 1276–1299 CE.[11]
Archeological evidence that the cultural continuity is unbroken from prehistory to the present, and that the direct ancestors of the Caddo and relatedCaddo language speakers in prehistoric times and at first European contact and the modern Caddo Nation of Oklahoma is unquestioned today.[12]

[edit]Oral history

Caddo turkey dance, Caddo National Complex, Binger, Oklahoma, 2000. The turkey dance relays Caddo history.
Caddo oral history says the tribe emerged from an underground cave, called Chahkanina or "the place of crying," located at the confluence of the Red andMississippi Rivers in northern Louisiana. Their leader, named Moon, instructed the people not to look back. An old Caddo man carried with him a drum, a pipe, and fire, all of which continued to be important religious items. His wife carried corn and pumpkin seeds. As people and accompanying animals emerged, the wolf looked back and the exit was closed to the remaining people and animals.[13]
The Caddo peoples moved west along the Red River, or Bah'hatteno in Caddo.[14] A Caddo woman, Zacado, instructed the tribe in hunting, fishing, home construction, and clothing. Caddo religion focuses on Kadhi háyuh, translating to "Lord Above" or "Lord of the Sky." In early times, the people were led by priests, including a head priest, the xinesi, who could commune with spirits residing near Caddo temples.[13] A cycle of ceremonies corresponded to corn cultivation. Tobacco was and is used ceremonially. Early priests drank a purifying sacrament made of wild olive leaves.[15]


The Caddo lived in the Piney Woods eco-region of the United States up to the foothills of the Ozark Mountains and often near the Caddo River. The Piney Woods is a dense forest of deciduous and conifer flora covering rolling hills, steep river valleys, and intermittent wetlands called Bayous. Several Caddo villages were resettled, including the community of Elysian Fields, Texas, and Nacogdoches and Natchitoches both of which have kept their original names. The Caddo were progressively moved further west until they reached what is now western Oklahoma. The geography of the drier plains was quite a contrast to the lush hilly forest that were formerly their homeland. The Caddo's food varied in many types, the most common being dried corn. Sunflower seeds and pumpkins were also important staples with cultural significance, as were wild turkeys.

[edit]Post-contact history

Kaw-u-tz, photographed in 1906. Photo courtesy SMU.
The Caddo first encountered Europeans in 1541 when the Hernando de Soto Expedition came through their lands.[16] De Soto's force had a violent clash with one band of Caddo Indians, the Tula, near Caddo Gap, Arkansas. This event is marked by a monument that stands in the small town today.
The Caddo tribes were divided into three confederacies when first encountered by the Europeans, the HasinaiKadohadacho, and Natchitoches, and loosely affiliated with other tribes. The Haisinai lived in East Texas, the Kadohadacho lived near the border of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and the Natchitoches lived in now northern Louisiana.[17]
With the arrival of missionaries from Spain and France a smallpox epidemic broke out that decimated the population. Measlesinfluenza, and malaria also devastated the Caddo, as they were Eurasian diseases to which they had no immunity.[14]
Before extensive European contact, some of the Caddo territory was invaded by migrating OsagePoncaOmaha and Kaw, who had moved west beginning about 1200 CE because of years of warfare with the Iroquois in the Ohio River area of present-day Kentucky. The Osage particularly dominated the Caddo and pushed them out of some former territory, becoming dominant in the region of MissouriArkansasKansas and Oklahoma. The new tribes had become well settled in their new traditional grounds west of the Mississippi by mid-18th century European contact.[14]
Having given way over years before the power of the former Ohio Valley tribes, Caddos later negotiated for place with Spanish, French, and finally Anglo-American settlers. After the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, the United States government sought to ally with the Caddos. In 1835 the Kadohadacho, the northernmost Caddo confederacy, signed a treaty with the US to relocate to then Mexico. This area had been rapidly transformed by greatly increased immigration of European Americans, who in 1836 declared independence from Mexico with the Republic of Texas.[14] "Texas" comes from the Hasinai word táysha?, meaning "friend."[18]
In 1845 when Texas was admitted to the US as a state, the government forced the relocation of both the Hasinai and the Kadohadacho onto the Brazos Reservation. In 1859 many of the Caddo were relocated to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River. After the Civil War, the Caddo were concentrated on a reservation located between the Washita and Canadian Rivers.[14]
In the late 19th century, the Caddo took up the Ghost Dance religion, which was widespread among American Indian nations in the WestJohn Wilson, a Caddo-Delaware medicine man who spoke onlyCaddo, was an influential leader in the Ghost Dance. In 1880, Wilson became a peyote roadman. The tribe had known the Half Moon peyote ceremony, but Wilson introduced the Big Moon ceremony to them.[19] The Caddo tribe remains very active in the Native American Church today.
After the turn of the century, the Curtis Act dismantled tribal institutions. The Dawes Act was directed at assimilation by breaking up tribal common landholdings into allotments for individual members. The Caddo vigorously opposed allotment. Whitebread, a Caddo leader, said, that "because of their peaceful lives and friendship to the white man, and through their ignorance were not consulted, and have been ignored and stuck away in a corner and allowed to exist by sufferance."[14]
The Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act of 1936 provided the opportunity for the Caddo to reform their tribal government. They organized in 1938 as the Caddo Indian Tribe of Oklahoma. They ratified their constitution on 17 January 1938.[2] In 1976, they drafted a new constitution. During the 20th century, Caddo leaders such as Melford Williams, Harry Guy, Hubert Halfmoon, and Vernon Hunter have shaped the tribe.[14]
In a special election on 29 June 2002, six amendments were made to the constitution. Tribal enrollment is open to individuals with a documented minimum of 1/16 degree Caddo blood.[20]