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Agency

Caddo Archeology Journal

Abstract

Early historical explorations of the American frontier discuss many tree species and their uses, yet rarely mention bois d'arc (Maclura pomifera). Several important early expeditions sent by President Thomas Jefferson into the southwestern frontier provide the first evidence for the natural and culturally influenced range of the species. Bois d 'arc was important in the trade of Native Americans, specifically used for bow wood.

As early as 1804, John Sibley and Merriwether Lewis reported to President Jefferson about bois d 'arc, drawing on information derived from transplanted saplings and reporting that the source was ca. 300 miles away (i.e., along the Red River?; see Flores 1985:114). John Sibley, a temporary United States Indian Agent along the Red River in the early nineteenth century, reported a source of bois d'arc wooden bows among the Caddos of the Red River. With these bows they conducted a lively trade among Plains and southeastern Indian groups (Gregory 1973; Webb and Gregory 1978).

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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