Facts About Sacagawea
Just what was a pregnant, Shoshone born, Hidatsa raised, traded to a French trapper doing wandering across unexplored North America. Much is written about her and her significance.
The outset of the expedition
The Corps of Discovery, in North Dakota in 1805 realized that she would be of huge value as a translator as she spoke both Shoshone and Hidatsa. They had hired her husband, Charbonneau, as a guide but the trump card, unpaid, was Sacagawea as she spoke the “Snake” languages.
Pregnancy, child birth and carrying a Papoose
The fact that she was expecting a child who was born just before the expedition set didn’t seem to hamper her. Indeed the child, Jean Baptiste was an asset.
Up the Missouri
The journey up the Missouri was against the current, so they were poled or pulled from the river bank. Sacagawea saved a number of items including precious journals after a boat capsized. She had the river renamed after her for her quick thinking.
Meeting her brother
When the expedition found the Shoshone, they were looking to trade for horses to get them over the Rockies. Sacagawea, while translating, found out that the Shoshone chief was her brother. She managed to get horses and guides for the expedition across the mountains.
Traveling with a baby
It turned out that the presence of a woman and child was not threatening to the tribes they met, so managed to complete their mission to present day Oregon in relative peace. They wintered at the Fort they built there (Fort Clatsop near Astoria).
It is estimated that she traveled almost 4,500 miles with the expedition returning with them until they once again reached the Mandan villages from where they had set out.
A symbol of the value of womanhood
There are many statues and monuments raised to Sacagawea. The Suffrage association hailed her as a heroin and in 2000 the US Mint issued a Dollar coin in her honor. Sadly no images actually exist so the likenesses are artists impressions.