John Wilson (Caddo)

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John Wilson, Indian Territory, ca. 1900[1]

John Wilson (ca. 1840-1901) was a Caddo-Delaware-French medicine man and religious leader. John Wilson's Caddo name was Nishkû'ntu, meaning "Moon Head."

Though he was of half-Delaware descent, quarter-blood French, and quarter-blood Caddo, John Wilson spoke only the Caddo language and identified only as a Caddo.[2] He is believed to have been born in 1840, when his band of Caddo were still living in Texas. They were driven into Indian Territory in 1859.[3]

Wilson was a medicine man, who in 1880, became a peyote roadman.[3] He became one of the most active leaders in the Ghost Dance in Indian Territory.

During a two-week period, Wilson consumed large numbers of peyote buttons to gain new insights into conducting peyote ceremonies – "learning from the peyote" and, as his nephew George Anderson put it, "peyote took pity on him."[4] The tribe had been exposed to the Half Moon peyote ceremony, but Wilson introduced the Big Moon ceremony to the tribe.[5] The Caddo tribe remains very active in the Native American Church today.

Wilson died in 1901.[1]


  1. ^ a b Stewart 87
  2. ^ Swanton 119
  3. ^ a b Stewart 86
  4. ^ Stewart 88
  5. ^ Stewart, 86-88