U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in PRAIRIE INVADERS: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 20TH NORTH AMERICAN PRAIRIE CONFERENCE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT KEARNEY, July 23–26, 2006, edited by Joseph T. Springer and Elaine C. Springer. Kearney, Nebraska : University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2006. Pages 159-164.


The Caddo Indian tribe’s range was northwest Louisiana, northeast Texas, eastern Oklahoma, western Arkansas, and southwest Missouri. Historical records indicate the use of native switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the construction of houses. The frame and stringers for the houses were wood but the entire covering was bundles of switchgrass. In 2005, Fort Polk personnel and faculty and students at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas initiated a joint monitoring effort of biological (density, height, seed production), cultural, and other characteristics of switchgrass. Both groups have ongoing field and greenhouse plots with selections of switchgrass from throughout the range of the Caddo tribe. The group is also investigating the cultural and historical aspects of the house construction.