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Archaeology, the Caddo Indian Tribe, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act
Journal of Northeast Texas Archeology
Caddo leadership has a long history of working cooperatively with foreign governments. In the seventeenth century, they cooperated with Spanish officials and missionaries who wanted to establish themselves among the southern branch of Caddo tribes--the Hasinai in Northeast Texas. In the eighteenth century, they cooperated with the French who wanted to establish trading posts on the Red River among the Natchitoches and Kadohadacho. In the nineteenth century they cooperated with Americans to establish peaceful relationships with unfriendly tribe. For Caddos, the result of these cooperative efforts was disillusion, decimation, displacement, and finally dispossession. Now, with new hope in the twentieth century, Caddo leaders have again pledged cooperation. This time with agencies, institutions, and individuals affected by an act of the United States Congress: the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). They do so with a desire to reach mutually satisfactory agreements for the return of some part of what was lost in previous time: respect for their dead and recognition that only living descendants have the right to possess cultural items that belonged to Caddo ancestors.
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