Saturday, April 15, 2017

Sacagawea

"Everything I do is for my people."  -Sacagawea

 There's been so much written about Sacagawea, the daughter of a Shoshone chief who served as a translator for the Lewis and Clark expedition... she was born around 1788 in Lemhi County, Idaho and around the age of 12 was kidnapped and sold to a French-Canadian trapper who made her his wife.  Ultimately, her role in the Corps of Discovery was so vital, just her laughter around the campfire at night would have been immeasurable in value.  Throughout the entire journey she lugged a baby on her back!  As a parent, that kind of struggle is more heroic than any other part of the story. I always feel that Sacagawea never receives enough attention.  While trying to find horses to purchase for the arduous trek through the Rocky Mountains, Sacagawea and the Corps happen upon a chance meeting with her long lost brother, Cameahwait, who assists the men in procuring horses.  This event is absolutely miraculous.  In fact, there are so many aspects of Sacagawea's life that should be noted.  That her infant son, Jean-Baptiste, was entrusted to Clark and enrolled in the Saint Louis Academy.  That she gave birth to a daughter, Lizette sometime around 1810, which was also adopted by Clark.  Finally, that she died of a fever at the age of 25.  
"The sight of this Indian woman, wife to one of our interpreters, confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanied war parties of Indians."  -Clark

At Fort Clatsop, there is a statue of Sacagawea with young son strapped to her back.  It's modest and fits very well within the natural surroundings.  I wish there was a way we could honor her life more.  She was a woman plucked from total and complete obscurity, but became a role model and an inspiration for not only Americans, but people every where.

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