Another Wednesday - another great guest on SecretBuilders' very own talk show... This week we welcomed Sacajawea – the fifteen year old Shoshone Indian who assisted the Lewis and Clark expedition around 1804-1806. She, along with her husband, were their guides from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean and then back.
After a warm welcome from the audience, Sacajawea began her story. She shared that at the age of twelve she had been captured by the Hidatsa tribe, an enemy tribe, and was sold into slavery. Later on had been sold to a French-Canadian fur trader named Toussaint Charbonneau who then married her. They had a son whom they named Jean-Baptiste.
When Joebar asked her how she knew Lewis and Clark, she said that she was their interpreter and negotiator with the Shoshone tribe and helped them obtain supplies and horses from the tribe, which was being led by her brother Cameahwait. Joebar pointed out that it is believed that without her help, the expedition would have been impossible to complete. It turned out Sacajawea went on the expedition with Lewis and Clark with her infant son on her back. She became a very important part of the expedition, because her knowledge of native plants and herbs often helped to feed the people. She also knew which plants and roots were good for medicine. And when encountering tribes along the way, she prevented many battles because the tribes would see that there was an Indian woman with Lewis and Clark. That had been a clear sign of a non-threatening group. Especially that she had been carrying a child with her.
In November 1805, when the expedition reached where the Columbia River met the Pacific Ocean, Lewis and Clark held a vote to decide where to settle for the winter. The expedition voted to stay near what is now Astoria, Oregon. They counted Sacajawea's vote as well. She was counted as equal to the men in the group. They built Fort Clatsop and then settled there for the winter. On the trip back she was even more important to their expedition because she knew the areas that they were traveling through and was able to guide the expedition safely back.
Six years after the expedition, Sacajawea gave birth to a daughter, Lisette. That winter she became very ill… Eight months later Clark legally adopted her 2 children. He educated Jean-Baptiste, but there are no further records of her daughter.
That's Sacajawea's story in short. How interesting is that? The audience was constantly asking questions and reacted emotionally to every one of Sacajawea's words.
Next week we'll talk with Alexander Graham Bell - another immencely popular person. Same place, same time - Joebar's Talk Show Studio, 10:30am PST and 4:00pm PST.