March 4, 2024

Sacagawea (c. 1788 – 1812)

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Sacagawea was born c. 1788 into the Agaidika (‘Salmon Eater’, aka Lemhi Shoshone) tribe near present-day Salmon, Lemhi County, Idaho. She was sold into a non-consensual marriage to Toussaint Charbonneau, a Quebecois trapper.

Sacagawea was born c. 1788 into the Agaidika (‘Salmon Eater’, aka Lemhi Shoshone) tribe near present-day Salmon, Lemhi County, Idaho. She was sold into a non-consensual marriage to Toussaint Charbonneau, a Quebecois trapper.

Sacagawea was a Lemhi Shoshone woman who, in her teens, helped the Lewis and Clark Expedition in achieving their chartered mission objectives by exploring the Louisiana Territory.

Sacagawea traveled with the expedition thousands of miles from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean, helping to establish cultural contacts with Native American people and contributing to the expedition’s knowledge of natural history in different regions.

The National American Woman Suffrage Association of the early 20th century adopted her as a symbol of women’s worth and independence, erecting several statues and plaques in her memory, and doing much to recount her accomplishments.

Reliable historical information about Sacagawea is very limited. She was born c. 1788 into the Agaidika (‘Salmon Eater’, aka Lemhi Shoshone) tribe near present-day Salmon, Lemhi County, Idaho. This is near the continental divide at the present-day Idaho-Montana border.

In 1800, when she was about 12 years old, Sacagawea and several other children were taken captive by a group of Hidatsa in a raid that resulted in the deaths of several Shoshone: four men, four women, and several boys. She was held captive at a Hidatsa village near present-day Washburn, North Dakota.

At about age 13, she was sold into a non-consensual marriage to Toussaint Charbonneau, a Quebecois trapper. He had also bought another young Shoshone girl, known as Otter Woman, for a wife. Charbonneau was variously reported to have purchased both girls from the Hidatsa, or to have won Sacagawea while gambling.

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