Incised redware cat effigy bowl, Caddoan from Louisiana; in the National Museum of the American —Courtesy of the National Museum of the American Indian, New York City
One of a group of North American Indian people living mostly in western Oklahoma, U.S. Their language is of the Caddoan linguistic family. Their name derives from a French truncation of kadohadacho, meaning real chief in Caddo. From ancient times they occupied the lower Red River area in Louisiana and Arkansas, and many striking examples of prehistoric pottery and basketry have been found. They were a semisedentary agricultural people who lived in conical pole-and-thatch dwellings. In the 18th century, pressures from white settlers pushed many Caddo off their lands, a process that intensified with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. By 1835 the Caddo had ceded all their land to the U.S., and by 1859 most were living on reservations in Oklahoma. Caddo descendants numbered more than 4,000 in the early 21st century.