Sacajawea

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Sacajawea

Most of the following information was either common knowledge or a blend of all three of my sources, Glancy, Howard and the Encyclopedia. Sacajawea is well-known as the Indian woman who led Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition to find the Pacific Ocean. The truth is a bit different from the movie and children's book versions, however. In fact, Sacajawea was not officially a member of the expedition party. Her husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, was hired as an interpreter and took Sacajawea along. She was allowed to join the party as an unofficial member because the captains thought she would be useful to help in communicating with some of the Indian tribes they met and also in obtaining horses from her native tribe, the Shoshone. Sacajawea was born in what is now the state of Idaho, around 1790. She was born into the Shoshone tribe and was betrothed from birth; however, when Sacajawea was about 10 years old, she was captured by the Minnetarres. Her Minnetarre name, Tsa-ka-ka-wias, means "Bird Woman," and was sometimes spelled "Sacagawea" or "Sahcargarweah." Her Shoshone name, "Bo-i-nair," means "Grass Maiden." She was reared by the Minnetarres until she and another Shoshone woman were sold to the French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau. The Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter of 1804-1805 at Fort Mandan in the Dakotas. Charbonneau and Sacajawea joined the expedition on its passage up the Missouri River. They hired Charbonneau as a guide, and when they discovered Sacajawea would be coming with them, they were pleased. After all, a woman with a child would indicate that the expedition was peaceful, and she could translate for them. Sacajawea was just 16 years old when she gave birth to her first child at the fort during the winter. Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was born in February 1805. He was also given the Shoshone name, Pomp, meaning First Born. Contrary to popular belief, Sacajawea did not "guide Lewis and Clark across the...
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