Sacajawea
by Phasen

Sacajawea was a Native American who was raised among the Snake Indians in the Rocky Mountains. She was captured by the Mandan Indians as a young girl. When Lewis and Clark first met Sacajawea she was 16 years old. Meriwether Lewis had hired a French interpreter named Toussaint Charbonneau to travel with their expedition. Charbonneau agreed to go as long as his young wife Sacajawea could go with them.

Lewis and Clark thought that Sacajawea would be very helpful to the expedition when they reached the mountain area of her childhood. This was a rough area and she would be able to guide the expedition and be a translator and interpreter to the tribes of that region whose language was unknown to others. Sacajawea was also an expert at supplying food. She knew where to dig for roots to make food from. She was a very smart and lovable woman and everyone loved her.

In the cold winter month of February 1804, Sacajawea gave birth to a son they named Jean Baptiste. They later nicknamed him Pompey. The baby and his mother continued on with the expedition and were the only woman and baby in the group. Even the strongest men were exhausted from all the traveling and work that went along with surviving in the wilderness.

When Jean Baptist grew up he became a guide for western travelers just like his mother had done in her life. Charbonneae separated from his wife and spent the rest of his life guiding fur traders and translating for them. No one knows exactly where Sacajawea spent her later years but many say she lived to be nearly 100 years old and she may have been a very old Indian woman who died among the Shoshones in 1884.

 

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