When the name Sacagawea is mentioned, most of us will remember her as the beautiful Indian woman during the expedition of Clark and Lewis as commanded by Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase which doubled the land area of the United States. She was also one of the characters in the movie of Ben Stiller, “Night at the Museum” and its sequels. Not much is known about the girl except for her beauty and bravery. In this discussion, we will learn more about the Shoshone lady, Sacagawea.
1. Her Background.
Sacagawea is also known as Sakakawea and Sacajawea from the Indian tribe of Lemhi Soshone in Idaho. According to what historians say, she was the tribe chief’s daughter and said to have been born in 1788. When she was 10 years old, she was kidnapped by another tribe, the Hidatsa and sold as slave.
2. Her Early Marriage.
At the age of 14, she became one of the wives of French-Canadian Toussaint Charbonneau, along with another Shoshone girl. However, rumors also surfaced that she was a prize Charbonneau won from gambling.
3. Her Significance In The Expedition.
In 1804, during the expedition of Lewis and Clark to the western islands, they met trapper Charbonneau and his wife while the couple was living with Hidatsa and Mandan Indians, in what is now the present-day North Dakota. They were hired to become interpreters since Sacagawea knew how to speak Shoshone. The explorers needed supplies and horses which were hard to find since they could not communicate with the tribes. Sacagawea not only became an interpreter. Being the only woman in the expedition, she captured the hearts of the members of the tribe which made it easier for them to get what they wanted. Her alertness also saved them when their boat capsized and she was able to save the important documents like maps they needed.
4. Her Pregnancy.
It is said that when they started the expedition, she was then pregnant with her first child, a boy he gave birth while trekking for miles. He was named Jean Baptiste and given the nicknames, “Pomp” and “Pompey”. She also had a second child after three years and named her Lisette. That time, they have given up their son and left him under the care of Clark so he can get proper education.
5. Her Dramatic Meeting With Her Brother.
When they went to negotiate with an Indian tribe to buy horses, Sacagawea was surprised to learn that the chieftain was her brother whom she has not seen since the day she was abducted. This made it easier for the group to purchase many horses and in fact, her brother even let his men to serve as guides for their travels.
6. Accounts About Her Death.
There are two versions on how she died, according to the journals written about her. Retrieved journal of Clark says that she died when she was 25 years old from typhoid fever. However, there were also accounts that she passed away in 1884 in Shoshone islands.
The U.S. government showed its recognition for the brave and strong Indian woman. Monuments of her can be found in Missouri and Wyoming. In 2000, a dollar coin was made in honor of her, a woman carrying her son.