Posted by: Ron DuBour | December 1, 2017

Knowing your American Heroes ~ SACAJAWEA (c. 179?-1884) ~ by rldubour

Friday! Time for an American Hero! Today is:


Knowing your American Heroes

SACAJAWEA (c. 179?-1884)

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Born about seventeen-ninety
In what is now called Idaho.
She was one of the “Snake People”
Or Shoshone as most people know.

Her name was Sac·a·ja·wea
Her father was Shoshone Chief
In Shoshone means “Boat Pusher”
The age of ten she would know grief.

At ten years of age she was kidnapped
On a raid by the Hidatsa
She was taken to their village
Now called Bismarck, North Dakota.

Changed her name to Tsi-ki-ka-wi-as
Means “Bird Woman.” in Hidatsa
A Canadian fur trader
Would soon buy Sac-a-ja-wea.

He claimed his name as Charbonneau
Was employed by Louis and Clark
He also bought “Otter Woman”
Before the journey did embark.

At Fort Mandan in the Dakotas
For the winter they waited there.
This was the safest place to be
Until the weather there was fair.

Around the twelfth of February
She gave birth to a baby boy
Named him Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
They all celebrated with joy.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition
Her husband an interpreter.
April seventh, eighteen-o-five.
They all resumed their trek westward.

She was allowed to join the group
As an unofficial member.
A great assist she proved to be
With calmness yet never somber.

Contrary to common belief
Sacajawea was not a guide.
She was taken so she could debrief
Languages on the ride.

She was very instrumental
For Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
With much courage and quick action
A calmness and self-possession.

There is a huge discrepancy
In the records of her passing
Two different dates are recorded
Depending where you’re asking.

She traveled with Lewis and Clark
A great influence to her tribe.
This woman called Sacajawea
A heroin cannot deny.


Depending on the source, her name is spelled two ways.
Some people use the g ,while others use the j
The expedition spent the winter at Fort Mandan and Sacajawea’s baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, was born on Feb. 11 or 12, 1805. He was also given the Shoshone name, Pomp, meaning First Born.
The expedition resumed the westward trek on April 7, 1805. Their route was along the Missouri River, west to the mountains. On May 14, 1805 an incident occurred which was typical of the calmness and self-possession Sacajawea was to display throughout the journey. The incident was recorded in the diaries because of it’s significance to the success of the expedition. On that day, the boat Sacajawea was in was hit by a sudden storm squall. It keeled over on it’s side and nearly capsized. As the other members of the crew worked desperately to right the boat, Sacajawea, with her baby strapped to her back, busied herself with retrieving the valuable books and instruments that floated out of the boat. They had been wrapped in waterproof packages for protection and, thanks to Sacajawea’s courage and quick actions, suffered no damage.
Shoshone oral tradition says that Sacajawea did not die in 1813, but instead, wandered the west for a few years and eventually returned to her tribe on the Wind River Reservation. Tradition says she died there on April 9, 1884, a venerated and influential member of the tribe, and is buried between her son, Jean Baptiste, and her sister’s son, Bazil, whom she adopted. There is a monument over the grave on the Wind River Reservation, of the woman called Sacajawea.


  1. I am studying Spanish in Costa Rica right now and a conversation around this very person came up in class today. I really enjoyed this. Thank you kindly.

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