by Ashleigh Smith

Life Brief

Little is known about Sacagawea, even though she has had such an impact on American history. No portraits were painted of her, no records verify her death or birth. What is known is her birth place and original tribe. She shared the story with the expedition leaders. She was a part of the Eastern Shoshone tribe in the mountains of Idaho in the Lemhi River Valley. She was captured by the Hidatsa in a raid, and moved to their villages on the Knife and Missouri Rivers in North Dakota. Her parents were killed in the raid.

Background Symbolism

I chose my background of flowers, because during the expedition she helped lead, she taught the men about the different plants and flowers and how to eat them. She taught them which ones were safe to touch and taste, so they could send them back to the president. She gathered plants for them to eat for meals. " The roots and berries Sacagawea gathered during the expedition added variety to the normal diet" (Crosby 52).

Pick 3

I would say that 3 interesting facts are:

1. Sacagawea gave birth to her son, "Jean Baptiste" on the journey. Clark was very fond of him, and eventually adopted him. "Sources say the name Pompy or Little Pomp was later given to the child by Clark as a sign of his growing affection for the child" (Crosby 47).

2. Sacagawea and her husband, Charbonneau became very close with Clark. Whenever he traveled somewhere they always came with him.

3. She knew a lot about medicine and herbs. She helped the Corps out when she would tell them which roots were safe to eat. She helped when the men were sick.


Sacagawea led the Corps of Discovery and Lewis and Clark to the Pacific Ocean, and helped them discover many new things for the country. Her guidance helped create the whole western area of America today. If it were not for her help, they might not have survived long enough to make it or have been able to find their way. She interpreted the Shoshone language and culture for Lewis and Clark. This helped them get materials, horses, and food. "Sacagawea's greatest contribution to American history was her patient interpretation for Lewis and Clark of her own Shoshone culture and of those of other tribes such as the Nez Perce, Salish, and Walla Walla" (Crosby 114-115)


She struggled in childbirth during the expedition. She was very young, small, and fragile, so her labor was hard on her body. They gave her rattlesnake poison to speed it up and she gave birth 10 minutes later. She gave birth and kept going on the journey. "Because Sacagawea was young, small, and having her first baby, her labor had been 'tedious and the pain violent' wrote Lewis" (Crosby 46).


A friend to Sacagawea during her journey was her husband, Charbonneau. He helped as a translator along with her. In fact, he was the one who got Sacagawea on the trail with the explorers. If it were not for her husband, she would have never had the opportunity to go. "Lewis and Clark asked Charbonneau if he and his woman would come with them when they traveled up the Missouri River in the spring of 1805" (Crosby 43).


"Your woman who accompanied you that long dangerous and fatiguing route to the Pacific Ocean and back deserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that route than we had in our power to give her." This was wrote by William Clark. Sacagawea did not get any recognition from America for her help, and got no awards. But, she did get recognition for her actions from the men that she helped.


As a Hidatsa woman, she did not have much time for play. She grew corn, squash, pumpkins, and beans. She dried and stored crops, and traded with other tribes. She owned her garden and earth lodge where she lived.


Sacagawea reminds me of a lion because she was so brave. She went on a journey as a young, pregnant girl and she gave birth on the trail. She stayed through the snow and also carried her baby with her. She saved the expedition when she saved important instruments, papers, and books that had gone over the edge of the boat when it tipped over. "The following week, on May 20, Lewis and Clark named a river for Sacagawea to honor her courage" (Crosby 56).
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Friend or Foe

I believe that I would be friends with her. I would love to be friends with such a strong woman. She is so kind to take up the expedition and be as patient as she was with the explorers and in her interpretations. She is also very independent. She decided to do what was best for her at the end of the expedition and stay back in the villages, and make her own life. I think she would be a great friend.

Most Like

Sacagawea is most like another man who chose to become a Mandan interpreter. They were both brave to choose to take on the expedition. They also both had to interpret the languages for the expedition. They each saved the expedition with their quick thinking on the boat ride and trading for food and supplies during the journey.

Altruist or Egoist

Sacagawea is definitely an altruist. She dropped her life as a Hidatsa woman to go help the expedition, which she did not have to do. She also sacrificed giving her baby a normal first year of his life so that she could keep going on the journey and helping out.

After Her Expedition

Sacagawea came back with them, but stayed back in her village. After this, the men offered her and her husband a plot of land in St. Louis, but she did not like it and went back to the village. After this, it is not known what happened to her. Some stories say she lived to be into her 80s and had many more children and relatives, but others say she was young when she died of an outbreak of disease. "'This evening the wife of Charbonneau died of putrid fever. She was a good and the best woman in the fort, aged about 25 years she left a fine infant girl'" (Crosby 104).


Sacagawea only had one known husband, Charbonneau and gave birth to one known son. But, there is a record of her son. Her son traveled the world a lot after he went off on his own. He went to Germany and fathered a child, which would also be Sacagawea's grandson. The baby, sadly, died 3 months after his birth. If the theories of her living to be old are true, then she possibly could have had more children.