Category: History: U.S.: L&C
Copyright/published Year: 1984 by Avon
The beginning of the book SACAJAWEA deals with this young ì Shoshoni girl's homelife, the death of her grandmother, her ì capture and being a slave to the Arikaras. She is won in a game ì of Hands by a French-Indian trader, Toussaint Charbonneau; who is ì living with several young Indian women. When Charbonneau meets ì with Lewis and Clark at Fort Mandan, he explains the advantage of ì having a Shoshoni-speaking member in their party. In the end ì Charbonneau refuses to join the expedition as a translator if one ì of his three women is not allowed to go with him. Clark agrees ì even though Sacajawea is pregnant at the time.
As the Expedition gets underway Sacajawea begins to be ì appreciated by most of the members. They turn to her for advice ì on edible roots and berries, to mend their clothing and when they ì come to the Lemhi Pass and Shoshoni country she points out ì several landmarks. She is not a guide as some people believe. ì After all would a military contingent, especially at that time, ì 1802-5, let a young Indian woman tell them where to go? Her ì knowledge of the local area where she had been a child was a ì great asset. Unquestioningly, it was her presence, with her ì papoose strapped to her back, that indicated to hostile Indians ì that this was no war party. Lewis and Clark and their men ì fulfilled President Jefferson's dream of finding a gateway to the ì Pacific, mapping out the Missouri River, the Shining Mountains ì and beyond. Sacajawea fulfilled her dream of being reunited with ì her family and friends from whom she had been so violently ì wrested.
She did not remain with her tribe, but stayed with the ì Expedition. Here the feelings of friendship between Captain Clark ì and Sacajawea began to grow. Back in St. Louis, Charbonneau ì openly brought home a few young Indian women to satisfy his ì desires. Sacajawea left Charboneau and traveled south to Oklahoma ì Territory where the Comanche lived. With the Comanche she found ì love with a man named Jerk Meat. When Jerk Meat was killed on a ì horse raid she leaves and travels north looking for her ì first-born son, Baptiste Charbonneau.
Several times mother and son cross paths, but never do they find ì each other. Sacajawea dies on the Wind River Reservation in ì Wyoming. This nearly one-hundred-year-old woman knew much more ì about the way the pale eyed, white skinned people lived than most ì Indians. She told stories about traveling with many white men, ì whose names she knew. She called the leaders Captains Lewis and ì Clark. A Wind River missionary believed she was truly Sacajawea ì and made certain that a large headstone was placed at her ì gravesite, instead of the common iron bedsteads that surround ì many of the Indian graves. That large headstone is still in place ì on the Wind River Reservation.
The background to the SACAJAWEA story is authentic as possible, ì but I do admit to making up part of the story where facts do not ì exist, such as conversation etc. I believe this actually enhances ì Sacajawea's development from the age of eleven to almost one ì hundred years old.
Her birthplace and date, life span and date of death, ì pronunciation, spelling and meaning of her name is still a point ì of controversy.
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