Sacagawea (1788-1812 /1884)

Sacagawea

sacagawea

  • Sacagawea was born in the Idaho area and came from the Shoshone Tribe.
  • She was the wife of a French-Canadian trapper called Toussaint Charbonneau.
  • Sacagawea accompanied Merriweather Lewis and William Clark on their expedition across the American west.
  • This Native American pioneer travelled thousands of miles between 1804-1806.
  • The journey started in North Dakota and ended at the Pacific Ocean.
  • Her nickname on the expedition was Janey.
  • Sacagawea was an invaluable member of the Lewis and Clark team.  She interpreted, bartered and traded with the tribes they encountered on route; foraged, hunted and cooked; tracked and guided; solved problems; rescued supplies; and supported the men in numerous ways, helping them to survive in unfamiliar territories.
  • Also, a woman traveling with a group of men, showed the expedition’s friendly intentions.
  • Sacagawea was also a new mother who carried her son for most of the journey.  The child was called Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, and nicknamed Little Pompy or Pompy.
  • After the expedition the Charbonneau family moved to St. Louis (Missouri) on William Clark’s invitation.  Acting in a god-father type role, Clark took responsibility for Jean-Baptiste’s education.  He wanted to adopt the child as his own son.
  • In 1810, Sacagawea had a daughter, Lizette.
  • There are conflicting stories about Sacagawea’s death.  The official account states she died of “putrid fever” in 1812.  However, another popular oral legend claims she left her husband, married in the Comanche Tribe, had several more children, and died in Wyoming in 1884.
  • Sacagawea became a symbol of early “girl power” for the National American Woman Suffrage Association.  This organization did much to expand and promote her story of resilience and courage.

Sources:

American Indian Relief Council, “Sacagawea Necklace.” Information card.

Bio. “Sacagawea” at http://www.biography.com/people/sacagawea-9468731#lewis-and-clark-expedition

Wikipedia, “Sacagawea” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacagawea

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