Caddo Creation Stories
George Sabo III and Rebekah Foster
Every society has one or more stories that explain the creation of the world. These stories answer the most fundamental questions about human existence. They provide a framework for understand peoples' experiences in the world and they link religious beliefs to everyday cultural practices. As such, these stories are considered to be the source of humanity's most fundamental truths.
Creation stories fall into two categories: primary and secondary stories. A primary story tells how the world was formed and relates the very beginnings of a people and their ways. It is an introduction to the history of the people from the very beginning of time. These stories are often quite long. Secondary stories introduce other elements of the world, relying on primary stories to provide reference points. These stories are sometimes (though not always) shorter, and they often include characters who are introduced in the primary stories.
The following stories relate the origins of the Caddo people. This but a limited selection from a much larger body of stories, not all of which can be connected into a coherent narrative. The first part of Story 1: Creation and Early Migration, is the version used by Caddo historian and story-teller Cecile Elkins Carter. The other stories provided here are from George A. Dorsey's Traditions of the Caddo (University of Nebraska Press, 1997). Some passages in these latter accounts are paraphrased, so that modern readers will find them easier to follow. This presentation also lacks the dramatic elements that accompany a live performance. Through effective use of intonation and gesture, story-tellers can bring their stories to life and make audiences believe that they are actually taking part in the narrative.