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Sacagawea, the Only Woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition

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A young girl who was captured by an enemy tribe. Who was later sold to a French-Canadian trapper. He made her his wife. She was invited to go on an investigation as a Shoshone Interpreter. Who now is best known for the only woman on the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Her name was Sacagawea.

Sacagawea was born roughly around the year 1788 in Lemhi County, Idaho. Much of her early life is a mystery because Indians didn’t record anything (Biography.com 2019). Although we don’t know much, she was captured around the age of 12. She was captured by an enemy of the Shoshones, the Hidatsa Indians. Around the year 1803, the Hidatsa sold her to a French-Canadian trapper named Toussaint Charbonneau. She was sold either by trade, gambling payoff, or purchase (History.com 2010). Charbonneau, later made her one of his wives. They lived in the midst of the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River. In November of 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition that entered the area planning to explore western lands and to also find a route to the Pacific (Biography.com 2019). They built Fort Mandan and stayed there for the winter. They met Charbonneau and he became their interpreter. Then Sacagawea was asked to tag along with them, even though she was pregnant with her first child. While on the expedition she gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. About three years later in 1809, she returned from the expedition with her son and husband all surviving illnesses, flash floods, temperature extremes, food shortages, mosquito swarms and much much more. About three years after returning in 1809 in August of 1812, she gave birth to her daughter Lizette Charbonneau (History.com 2010). Not long after her heath greatly declined. By December, she was very ill with putrid fever. She died at the age of 25, on December 22, 1812, in Fort Manuel on a bluff in Idaho (History.com 2010).

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Sacagawea was very accomplished even though she died very young. Sacagawea was a Shoshone interpreter. She is best known for serving as a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition into the American West. She was also known for being the only woman on the famous expedition. One of the reasons that her being the only woman on the expedition is because normally they weren’t allowed to travel. Sacagawea brought restfulness and composure to the tribes and also the Corps. She was a great translator for the expedition. Also because of her tremendous memory from when she was a child, she would remember paths and because of that found her way back to her tribe (Weebly.com). She taught Lewis and Clark what plants and berries are edible and which ones aren’t and that would kill you. Sacagawea also rescued supplies that they couldn’t live without and materials from a ship, that was flipping over, which was carrying the expedition team (Reference.com 2019). See these are just some of her accomplishments and just some of the things that she was good at and also helped with. There is so much more to know about her.

Sacagawea severely impacted many. She was very confident and independent. She showed that it didn’t matter that she was a girl. She was just like everyone else. She casted votes just like everyone else. She contributed in an all-male expedition, which was also very uncommon. She proved that no matter what it was she could do it, female or not.

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