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Tue April 29, 2014
Arts

'Caddo Connections' sets up research-driven view of Caddo culture

The regional archeologist for northwest Louisiana, based at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, is out with a book this month that examines the dynamic cultural landscape of the Caddo people and their complex connections with the greater Native American community in the Southeastern U.S.

Jeffrey Girard is the co-author of “Caddo Connections: Cultural Interactions Within and Beyond the Caddo World.” Girard says the book traces the Caddo Indians over 1,000 years and compiles a decade of the latest research.

“We tried to do a synthesis of some of the research on the Caddo people that lived in this area -- northwest Louisiana, northeast Texas, southwest Arkansas, and southeast Oklahoma,” Girard said. “It’s a big culture area. We tried to pull together a lot of recent research and look at the diversity within that area and how things changed through time.”

“Caddo Connections” is a scholarly reference text geared toward North American archeologists. It’s full of citations that can be used as a jumping off point for further research, according to Girard. The Caddo people are interesting to study, he says, because they played a key role in the development of Southeastern Indian culture stretching back to at least the 10th century.

“We’re trying to situate the Caddo within the larger sphere of Southeastern Indian groups, and that really hasn’t been done before,” Girard said.

Jeffrey Girard, a regional archaeologist for the Louisiana Division of Archaeology, studies early Caddo sites in his 13-parish region.
Jeffrey Girard, a regional archaeologist for the Louisiana Division of Archaeology, studies early Caddo sites in his 13-parish region.

“Caddo Connections” is published by Rowman & Littlefield. Girard’s upcoming field work will focus on Caddo sites north of Shreveport in the Red River floodplain. The artifacts on the book’s cover are on display at the Louisiana State Exhibit Museum in Shreveport.

Girard co-wrote the book with Timothy Perttula, owner of Austin, Texas-based Archeological & Environmental Consultants and Mary Beth Trubitt, an archeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey and an anthropology professor at University of Arkansas.