Leadership on the Frontier: Sacagawea Edition

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Showered by myths and mystery, not knowing the correct spelling of Sacagawea’s name or her correct date of birth. Her story still has been told many times throughout history. Not learning to read or write, she was well known for assisting the explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition, in survey of the Louisiana Purchase land. She became a valuable guide to the expedition, interpreting between tribes in her region. Without the help of Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark might not have been as successful, but because of her efforts, it made claiming the newfound land for the United States impossible for other countries. Sacagawea, also known as Bird Woman, was born to a Shoshone chief in 1788, in Salmon, Idaho. At the age of twelve, she was captured and sold to the French Canadian fur trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, and was made one of his many wives. Setting forth after the conformation of the purchased land, Lewis and Clark approached the hired interpreter, Charbonneau and his unknown Native American wife. They were to serve as guides for the party. Being only sixteen, her and her husband accompanied Lewis and Clark, graciously directing them on the expedition. She later gave birth to a boy, Jean-Baptiste, nicknamed “Pompey”, at their fort. Since Clark had become deeply attached to the infant he offered to take him, when weaned, to educate him as his own child. Less than two months later, the expedition was to continue and Sacagawea had her infant son strapped on her back sharing the hardships of the journey. Sacagawea posed as a guide, spectator, and translator because she was familiar with the geography, animals, and plants. When traveling through the land, she quieted the fears of other Native American tribes because she served a... ... middle of paper ... ...et al. Vol. 4: Primary Sources. Detroit: UXL, 2006. 146-161. U.S. History in Context. Print. 17 Nov. 2013. McBeth, Sally. 2003. "Memory, Hstory, and Contested Pasts: Re-imagining Sacagawea/Sacajawea." American Indian Culture & Research Journal 27, no. 1: 1-32. Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson), EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2013). “Sacagawea.” Dictionary of American Biography. New York: Charles Scriber’s Sons, 1936. U.S. History In Context. Print. 25 Sept. 2013. Shoemaker, Nancy. “ Native-American Women in History.” OAH Magazine of History , Vol. 9, No. 4, Native Americans (Summer, 1995), pp. 10-14. 17 Nov. 2013 Vettel-Becker, Patricia. "Sacagawea and Son: The Visual Construction of America's Maternal Feminine." American Studies (00263079) 50, no. 1/2 (Summer2009 2009): 27-50. America: History and Life with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed November 17, 2013).

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