Sacagawea

By Zoie Bright

Thesis Statement: Sacagawea was important to the Lewis and Clark expedition and likewise had a very eventful life.

How she was important:

Sacagawea interpreted between explorers and Indians, so Lewis and Clark most likely would've been killed by Indians if Sacagawea wasn't there. Another way she was important was how she guided the group over mountains and through plains to reach the Pacific. Sacagawea knew what to eat and what not to eat, and without that knowledge a lot of men would probably have died. The explorers came across animals that were unfamiliar to them, so without Sacagawea they wouldn't have known how to hunt them or if they should hunt them at all.
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Sacagawea's Early Life:

Sacagawea's actual birth date is not known. She may have been born in 1788. At 12 she was kidnapped by Hidatsa Indians. They sold her to a French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who made her one of his wives. While married to him, she learned English. On Monday, February 11, 1805, Sacagawea gave birth to her first child, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.
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Challenges Sacagawea Faced:

She accompanied Lewis and Clark just two months after giving birth to her son. Sacagawea traveled 8,000 miles over three years through mountains and plains with an infant. During the expedition she fell ill for about 10 days, suffering from fever and abdominal pain. She also had to step in between angry Indians and explorers to explain that they were not a war party. "The sight of this Indian woman, wife to one of our interprs. confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter..." - from a soldiers journal
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Accomplishments:

Sacagawea traded horses so the Corps of Discovery could make it over the Rocky Mountains. She became a very valuable guide. She also became a very valuable interpreter. After reaching the Pacific, Sacagawea guided her son and Clark to Big Hole Pass. She released some tensions between the Natives and the foreigners. When a boat they were using tipped over, Sacagawea saved important documents. . "The Indian woman to whom I ascribe equal fortitude and resolution, with any person onboard at the time of the accident, caught and preserved most of the light articles which were washed overboard". - a soldiers journal
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Life After the Expedition:

Sacagawea and her son lived among the Hidatsa Indians for 3 years. She and her son were then relocated to Fort Manuel Lisa in South Dakota. In August 1812, Sacagawea gave birth to a girl, whom she named Lizette. After the birth, Jean Baptiste went with Clark to receive an education.
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Controversy:

Sacagawea could've died in 1812 or 1884, no one knows for sure. In 1875 a woman in Wyoming claimed to be Sacagawea. However, in December 1812, one of Charbonneau's wives died, and many people believed it to be Sacagawea. Charbonneau's wife died of putrid fever or typhus, a bacterium spread by fleas. Some people believe that Sacagawea died in 1812, and that her daughter Lizette went to live with Clark, but others say Lizette never made it past infancy.
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Bibliography

"Sacagawea." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.

Bio.com. A&E Networks Television. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. <http://www.biography.com/people/sacagawea-9468731#!>.

"Sacagawea." Sacagawea. Web. 17 Apr. 2015. <http://www.sacagawea-biography.org/facts/>.

"Sacagawea." History.com. A&E Television Networks, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2015.

PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2015.

"Sacagawea." Sacagawea. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Apr. 2015. <http://www.sacagawea-biography.org/sacagawea-and-the-lewis-and-clark-expedition/>.

Erdrich, Liselotte, and Julie Buffalohead. Sacagawea. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda, 2003. Print.

George, Judith St. Sacagawea. New York: Putnam, 1997. Print.

George, Judith St. Sacagawea. New York: Putnam, 1997. Print.