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Jim Tiller

SHREVEPORT AND CHONENA CADDO BANDS LEAVE TEXAS. In the July 1835 treaty between the Caddo Nation and the United States, the Caddo ceded their lands east of Terán’s Line to the United States and promised to leave the area within one year. In return, they received $30,000 in goods at the signing with the balance of $50,000 to be paid in five equal annual installments of $10,000—the first to be paid in September 1836. After signing the treaty, the Caddo returned to their villages in eastern Harrison County (see NORTH, MIDDLE, BIG SPRING and DEHAHUIT’S CADDO villages) and the Louisiana village on Boggy Bayou near Spring Hill. By early 1838 increasing tensions with white settlers, difficulties receiving their annuities, and the activities of both Texas and American surveyors caused the Caddo Nation, then consisting of some 500 individuals, to leave their villages for the prairies and Cross Timbers of frontier Texas.

In September 1838 a Caddo band of approximately 160 men, women, and children (comprising some one-third of the tribe) under the leadership of Chief Tsauninot were escorted to the Texas-Louisiana line by Capt. William Becknell so that they might go to Shreveport to receive their annuity for that year. Because of the Indian wars then in progress in Texas, the Shreveport band was not permitted to return to Texas. It was not until the spring of 1840, after they had received both the 1838 and 1839 annuities, that Tsauninot’s band was permitted to leave the Shreveport area and then only to go to Indian Territory where they were permitted to settle along the Choctaw-Chickasaw frontier on the Blue and Boggy rivers.

In the fall 1841 Choctaw General Council, a band of some 160 Caddo (approximately one-half of the Caddo then in Texas, or one-third of the total tribe) under the leadership of Chief Chonena applied for and were granted permission to settle in Indian Territory on lands west of the Washita River. At this point, the Caddo Nation was divided into three separate bands of approximately 160 individuals each: the Shreveport Caddo in Indian Territory on the Blue and Boggy rivers; the Chonena band (soon to be headed by his son George Washington) confined to lands in Indian Territory west of the Washita River; and the Texas band who remained on the Brazos River in Texas.

Interestingly, while most who write about 1840s–50s Caddo history focus their attention on the activities of the Texas band, it is important to remember that for most of this period the majority of the tribe was living in relative peace in Indian Territory. The Caddo bands would not be reunited until 1859 when they were brought together on the Sugar Creek Reservation in Indian Territory.


Kenton Harper, “Letter to Luke Lea, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, September 22, 1851,” in Letters Received by the Office of Indian Affairs,1824–1881, Roll 140, Chickasaw Agency, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. F. Todd Smith, The Caddo Indians: Tribes at the Convergence of Empires, 1542–1854 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1995). Jim Tiller, Before the Line, Volume II: Letters from the Red River, 1809–1842 (2012), Electronic version available at Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville. Jim Tiller, Before the Line, Volume III: Caddo Indians: The Final Years (2013), Electronic version available at Newton Gresham Library, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville. 

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Jim Tiller, "SHREVEPORT AND CHONENA CADDO BANDS LEAVE TEXAS," accessed June 07, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/bps13.

Uploaded on September 26, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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