Sacagawea Facts

Lewis and Clark Picture

Lewis and Clark Expedition: Facts about the Sacagawea

1. The name Sacagawea in the Shoshone language means “Bird Woman” and in the Hidatsa language means “Boat Launcher”. William Clark once referred to Sacagawea as "Janey" in one of his journals.

2. Sacagawea was born in Lemhi County, Idaho c1788. She was a member of the Agaidika band of the Northern Shoshone Native American tribe who also known as Snake Indians.

3. She was captured by the Hidatsa Native American Indian tribe when she was just a child and treated as a slave.

4. The Hidatsa tribe sold 13 year old Sacagawea and another slave called 'Otter Woman' to 38 year old Toussaint Charbonneau, a rough and unpleasant man, who was a trader and interpreter.

5. Toussaint Charbonneau married both Sacagawea and Otter Woman but treated them both as a slave wives.

6. On November 2, 1804 the Lewis and Clark expedition settled for the winter in the lands of the Mandan and Hidatsa tribes in modern day North Dakota. It was here that they built Fort Mandan as their winter quarters.

7. It was at Fort Mandan that Lewis and Clark met Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacajawea,  who was just 16 years old and pregnant. Charbonneau was hired as an interpreter and guide. Sacajawea was not supposed to be part of the expedition but her husband insisted that she came with them.

8. Her child was believed to have been born at Fort Mandan in February 1805. He was named Jean Baptiste but was called 'Pomp'.

9. On April 7, 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition departed from Fort Mandan accompanied by Charbonneau, Sacagawea and their baby son. She carried her son in a cradleboard on her back

10. On May 14, 1805 she prove to be of great help to the explorers. A powerful storm almost overturned one of the expedition’s boats but Sacagawea retrieved many important articles from the waters including research notes, books and scientific instruments.

11. The members of the expedition were extremely grateful to her and, in recognition of her brave deed, they named the Sacagawea River after her on May 20, 1805.

12. Her harsh husband had become the most unpopular man on the journey. Meriwether Lewis referred to him in his journal as “a man of no peculiar merit”.

13. On August 17, 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived at the lands occupied by the Shoshone Native Indian tribe - the homelands of Sacagawea.

14. She received the sad news that her parents had died but also the good news that her brother, Cameahwait, had become the new chief of the Shoshone tribe. Her brother agreed to sell some of the horses to the Lewis and Clark expedition and they continued their journey of exploration.

15. On November 15, 1805 the Lewis and Clark expedition at last reached the Pacific Ocean.

16. The only request she ever made on the journey was to be allowed to see the great Pacific Ocean and the whale that had been washed ashore.

17. The Lewis and Clark expedition set up their winter quarters and built Fort Clatsop where they spent 106 days from December 7, 1805 until March 23, 1806 in the Oregon Country near the mouth of the Columbia River.

18. During the journey home Pomp fell ill with a fever and, according to the journals, was treated by William Clark and soon recovered.

19. On July 25, 1806 the expedition were traveling along the Yellowstone River. William Clark climbed a 200-feet tall rock and named it “Pompy’s Tower” after Jean Baptiste.

20. On August 17, 1806 the Lewis and Clark expedition arrived back at Fort Mandan. Toussaint Charbonneau was paid $533.33 and given 320 acres of land for his service as interpreter. Sacagawea received nothing at all.

21. On September 6, 1806 the Lewis and Clark expedition reached St. Louis, Missouri. William Clark offered to raise Pomp as his own and provide him with an education. Jean Baptiste stayed with Clark who enrolled him in a boarding school.

22. Charbonneau and Sacagawea moved to Ford Manuel Lisa and on August 12, 1812 Sacagawea gave birth to a baby girl who was named Lizette.

23. Sacagawea was believed to have died on December 20, 1812 in South Dakota. The cause of death was putrid fever or typhus.

24. In 1813 William Clark signed the adoption papers for both her children

25. So ended the life of the Shoshone heroine. It should have been the end of her story. However, in 1875 a woman living in the Wind River Reservation, Wyoming, with the Comanche name of Porivo, claimed to be Sacagawea. Porivo died in 1884 but left a mystery surrounding the famous heroine.

26. There was considerable speculation about this famous woman and in 1925, Dr. Charles Eastman was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to locate Sacagawea's remains and investigate her death.

27. Dr, Eastman went to the Wind River Reservation and he came to the conclusion that Porivo was Sacagawea.

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