Jeffrey Girard was on the faculty at Northwestern State University of Louisiana and served as regional archaeologist for the Louisiana Division of Archaeology for more than 25 years. He worked with landowners in the identification and preservation of cultural resources on private and state land, carried out research projects, and promoted awareness of cultural resources through public presentations. Girard was designated 2015 Archaeologist of the Year by the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism.
11:15 a.m. to Noon
A.Z. Young Park, Author Tent 2
Native Born: Louisiana’s First Nations
12:15 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Barnes & Noble Bookselling Tent
The Caddos and Their Ancestors: Archaeology and the Native People of Northwest Louisiana
Taking an archaeological perspective on the past, Jeffrey S. Girard traces native human habitation in northwest Louisiana from the end of the last Ice Age, through the formation of the Caddo culture in the tenth century BCE, to the early nineteenth century. Employing the results of recent scientific investigations, The Caddos and Their Ancestors depicts a distinct and dynamic population spanning from precolonial times to the dawn of the modern era.
Girard grounds his research in the material evidence that defined Caddo culture long before the appearance of Europeans in the late seventeenth century. Reliance solely on documented observations by explorers and missionaries―which often reflect a Native American population with a static past―propagates an incomplete account of history. By using specific archaeological techniques, Girard reveals how the Caddos altered their lives to cope with ever-changing physical and social environments across thousands of years. This illuminating approach contextualizes the remnants of houses, mounds, burials, tools, ornaments, and food found at Native American sites in northwest Louisiana. Through ample descriptions and illustrations of these archaeological finds, Girard deepens understanding of the social organization, technology, settlement, art, and worldviews of this resilient society.
This long-overdue examination of an often-overlooked cultural force provides a thorough yet concise history of the 14,000 years the Caddo people and their predecessors survived and thrived in what is now Louisiana.
Book-loving volunteers are essential to the Louisiana Book Festival's success. Whether it's escorting authors, guiding visitors, selling refreshments, working with children in the Young Readers Pavilion or other fun and rewarding assignments, the Louisiana Book Festival wants you to join the volunteer team.