Sacagawea

Shoshone

 

born approx. 1786 at Upper Samon River, Idaho

 

died approx. 1884 in Fort Washakie, Wyoming

 

When she was twelve years old she accompanied her tribe to a buffalo hunt. She was dispossessed from the Blackfoot-warriors during this hunt and later on sold as slave to the Hidatsa. With fourteen years she was resold to the franco-canadian ranger Toussaint Charbonneau. Thereby he let himself obligate from Lewis and Clark as interpreter and the two also got to know the young Indian and shortly derived advantage from it. She had an enormous knowledge of the palce and was therefor very important because like that the men could rely on that they always had something to hunt.

 

They needed horses for their expedition and so they tried to commit Sacagawea to them because they knew that only with her they would get horses from the Shoshone. She was also important because she sewed fur dresses, moccasins, cooked and took care of the babies.

 

On 4/7/1805 a little sentence stood in the journal of the two men. "Charbonneau's wife accompanies us with her little child: we hope she will serve us as interpreter for the Snake." They travelled through the woods and Lewis and Clark intoned hymnes on her. When they drove a boat the awkward Charbonneau brought it to tipping and the brave Indian saved the important goods before they sunk.

 

During the long journey she fell ill and Sacagawea was brought to the sulfur springs. They stayed there for four weeks. The men reached meanwhile the watershed of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. The saw the first Shoshone village and approached with the american flag. The Shoshone were first very distrustful but when they saw Sacagawea the recognized a member of their tribe. To the astonishment of all, Sacagawea's brother was also in this village.

 

Clark and Lewis were glad that they were received so well, because now also the horses were no problem, because without them the difficult journey couldn't go on. The Shoshone described a country way for the expedition. They rode long till they saw the next village. These village were from the Nez Percé, also here they were received friendly. They reached their destination, the Pacific Ocean. The stayed the whole winter in a log cabin. In spring-time they returned. Also this time the Indian lead the expedition. She was so popular that the men reported the following of her: "With her defenseless baby she rode with the men, she lead us unerring over mountain passes and through lonely regions: she was intelligent, cheerful, always knew a way out, never tired and was true blue; she carried us all away."

 

After this journey she ended the relation with Charbonneau, she stayed with her son in Wyoming and married a Comanche with whom she stayed till his death. Afterwards she married a French who was killed shortly after. Sacagawea's son stayed with Clark. Baptist then made a school and was later on adopted by Duke Paul of Wurttemberg. Baptist undertook many journeys with the Duke.

 

1830, in the age of 25 Baptist returned to his tribe. 1871 he took his mother to a new constituted Shoshone reservation, where he carried for her till her death in the year 1884. Baptist died one year later.

 

Beneath Pocahontas Sacagawea was one of the most famous Indian women. She represented diligence and simplicity.

 

She was also often idealized and partially romanticized. In Oregon, Portland a bronze statue was drawn up to her honour.

 

 

report: Red Cloud