Published on October 24, 2012 by Amy
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.”
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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. 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.
Wilson was a medicine man, who in 1880, became a peyote roadman. 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.” The tribe had been exposed to the Half Moon peyote ceremony, but Wilson introduced the Big Moon ceremony to the tribe. The Caddo tribe remains very active in the Native American Church today.
Wilson died in 1901.