Don Healy's

The Caddo Nation

A new red-orange flag bearing the a band and three dancing women symbolizes the Caddo Nation of Oklahoma. It recently replaced the buff colored flag pictured here.

The modern Caddo people are the descendants of many different tribes that once inhabited Louisiana, southern Arkansas and coastal Texas as far west as the Brazos River (ENAT, 33-34). These included the tribes of the Kadohadacho confederacy which gives the modern Caddo their name, the Hasinai Confederacy and the Natchitoches Confederacy.

Today the more than 1,200 Caddo share joint control of small parcels of tribal lands in Oklahoma with the Delaware and Wichita nations around the areas of Fort Cobb and Fort El Reno.

Over their lands flies the orange banner bearing their tribal seal. On the flag the seal is separated from the orange field by a medium blue ring bearing the name "Caddo Nation" in black at the top. This blue ring recalls the spirit's journey through life and beyond. This replaces a flag flown until recently that had a light buff colored background bearing the same seal, but the tribal name was written as "Caddo Indian Nation In Oklahoma"

The seal of the Caddo Nation features three women in 19th century Caddo dress performing the traditional "Turkey Dance". This dance is an old dance that is still performed today ("Flag of the Caddo Nation, Caddo Nation, 1997). The dance is performed by the women and children of the tribe who also sing, while the men sing and play the drums. The background of the tribal seal shows in outline, five Caddo men doing just that. The turkey dance is a tool used to foster a sense of confidence and well being while providing the Caddo with an outlet for mental stress and promoting physical endurance since the dance can last from one hour to all day!

The three dancing women wear dresses of green, closest to the hoist, red-orange and white in the center and lavender and with a white apron toward the fly.

At the base of the seal is a small round design symbolizing the door to the world beyond plus it recalls the four stages of life and the four primary directions of the compass. This symbol appears in yellow, red, green and white.

The flag was designed by a member of the Caddo tribe, Billie Hoff and has been manufactured commercially by the Homer Miller Co. of Oklahoma City.

My thanks to LaRue Parker of the Caddo National Council and Peter Orenski of NAVA for supplying information used in this piece.

Don Healy, Bisbee, Az 85603