Sacajawea

Sacajawea

plaster, 1914
P.P. Caproni and Brother cast
Museum purchase

Sacajawea or Sacagawea (“Bird Woman”) (ca. 1788-1812), was a Lemhi Shoshone girl, kidnapped by Hidatsa raiders at the age of 11. She married Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian fur trapper, at the age of 16.  In 1803, Charbonneau and his pregnant wife signed on as guides and interpreters for the Lewis and Clark expedition. A skilled negotiator and proficient in multiple languages, Sacajawea was of great help to the explorers as a peace keeper and translator. She was also familiar with the territory and prepared food for the expedition with roots, berries and herbs.

Charbonneau and Sacajawea’s son, Jean Baptiste, called Pomp (Shoshone for “First Born”), was born in 1805 and traveled with his mother to the Pacific Ocean and back. Sacajawea died in 1812. After her death, William Clark adopted Pomp and his sister Lizette. In 1998, a golden dollar coin was created to honor Sacajawea and all Native American women of the United States.