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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dancing with the Caddo Culture Club

By Jennifer L. Price, Caddo Mounds site manager

Each year, the Caddo Culture Club of Caddo Nation conducts an annual dance at the Caddo Nation Complex in Binger, Oklahoma to include other ally tribes such as the Cheyenne, Delaware, Kiowa, and Wichita. These tribes come together to conduct ceremonial, ancestral, and competition dances.

The songs and dances performed by the Caddo today date to ancient times. Some of the dances performed include the Straight Dance, Caddo Two-Step, Swing Dance, Fish Dance, and Alligator Dance. These dances are all performed to the beat of drums.


The Straight Dance is usually conducted as a competition dance with each individual’s colorful and well-designed regalia. The Straight Dance defines a story of hunting on a trail, or war party searching for the enemy. 


The Caddo Two-Step is a fun, social dance for couples. The Swing Dance was also considered a social dance, in which a male would guide two women around in a circle. Traditionally, this dance was women’s choice, and if the man declined, it was considered an insult and bad luck for the man. The Fish Dance is predominately women shuffling in a circle, representing propagation or flirting.


The Alligator Dance represents a serpentine line of alternating men and women, ending in a coil-like counter-clockwise turn around the drum, representing the beginning and continuous flow of life.

Caddo Mounds State Historic Site is located outside Alto, Texas, 26 miles west of Nacogdoches. The site is part of the lush Pineywoods landscape of the Texas Forest Trail Region.

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