Waco (American Indians Ready Reference)
The Waco, a small group, were a part of the Caddoan family, which had inhabited the southern Great Plains for thousands of years before their first contact with European Americans. “Caddo” is a shortened form of Kadohadacho (“real chiefs”). The Waco were either neighbors of another Caddoan group, the Tawakoni, or a division of that tribe. Both spoke a dialect similar to that of the Wichita, the dominant tribe in the area. Not much is known about the early history of the Waco. Tradition tells that they moved about with other Caddoans through Oklahoma and Texas.
The name “Waco” does not appear in records until after 1824, when white people encountered them living in a village where Waco, Texas, now stands. “Waco” may be a derivative of Wehiko (“Mexico”), given because they were continually fighting the Mexicans. The Waco lived in round thatched houses and in 1824 had some 200 fenced acres under cultivation. They were involved in no major skirmishes with whites, but they suffered greatly at the hands of northern Great Plains tribes. A smallpox epidemic in 1801 further decimated their numbers. They joined with the Wichita in treaties made with the United States and in 1872 were given a reservation in Oklahoma. In the 1990's the Waco experienced a renewed interest in tribal heritage. They made recordings of stories and songs and worked to pass traditions to their children.
(The entire section is 227 words.)
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