County Historical Commission To Hear Speaker On Caddo Mounds Historic Site

LIBERTY, January 4, 2018 - The Liberty County Historical Commission will hold its regular quarterly meeting on Monday, January 15th, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the A.J. “Jack” Hartel Community Building, 318 San Jacinto Street, Liberty.  Meetings are open, and the public is encouraged to attend.  The guest speaker for the evening will be Rachel Galan of the Caddo Mounds State Historic Site.

Rachel began her love of Caddo Culture at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) where she completed her undergraduate work in English and Anthropology.  Ms. Galan earned her Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Texas in Austin.  She spent 11 years as a librarian at SFASU during which time she served as Director of the East Texas Research Center, Head of Digital Projects, and Associate Director of the Library.  A certificate from SFASU in resource interpretation facilitated a change in career and allowed her to return to her love of Caddo culture.  Ms. Galan joined the staff of Caddo Mounds State Historic Site as the Educator/Interpreter in February 2014.

More than 1,200 years ago, a group of Caddo Indians known as the Hasinai built a village 26 miles west of present-day Nacogdoches.  The site was the southwestern most ceremonial center for the great Mound Builder culture.  Today, three earthen mounds still rise from the lush Pineywoods landscape where visitors discover the everyday life and the history of this ancient civilization. 

The Caddo selected this site for a permanent settlement about A.D. 800.  The alluvial prairie possessed ideal qualities for the establishment of a village and ceremonial center:  good sandy loam soil for agriculture, abundant natural food resources in the surrounding forest and permanent water source of springs that flowed into the nearby Neches River.

From here, the Caddo dominated life in the region for approximately 500 years.  They drew local native groups into the economic and social dependence through trade and sophisticated ceremonial/political system.  The traded with other native groups in Central Texas and as far away as present-day Illinois and Florida.  Caddo Mounds’ sphere of influence was only a small portion of the broader Caddo cultural domain encompassing northeast Texas, Norwest Louisiana, western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.  The Caddo culture, in turn, had trade connection and perhaps religious and political ties, with similar cultures farther east in the Mississippi Valley and beyond.

The settlement at Caddo Mounds flourished until the 13th century when the site was abandoned.  Most archeologists agree that the elite ruling class left Caddo Mounds after the loss of their regional influence, as outlying hamlets and trade groups became self-sufficient and grew less dependent on the cultural center in religious and cultural matters. 

The Hasinai Caddo groups continued to live through the 1830s in their traditional East Texas homeland in the Neches and Angelina River valleys but by the early 1840s, all Caddo groups had moved to the Brazos River area to remove themselves from Anglo-American repressive measures and colonization efforts.  They remained there until the U.S. government placed them on the Brazos Indian Reservation in 1855, and then in 1859 the Caddo (about 1,056 people) were removed to the Washita river in Indian Territory, now western Oklahoma.  The Caddo continue to live in western Oklahoma, primarily near the Caddo Nation Headquarters outside Binger, Oklahoma.

For more information on the Liberty County Historical Commission or the program on Caddo Mounds Historic Site, please email:  lchc318@gmail.com or call 936-334-5813.

 
 
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