Sacagawea, a token of strength and peace

12 Jun
Sacagawea and her son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau

Sacagawea and her son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau

Hello and welcome back to Suffragette Kitty. Today my publicist and I are in need of a powerful role model today, and though Google is filled with incredible choices of women who have overcome some outrageous odds, we decided to focus on Sacagawea.

My pub and I admire so much about this young Lemhi Shoshone woman, not the least being her invaluable contributions to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We should also mention that she was a 15-year-old sister-wife, full-time working mother, and essentially “girl,” for this expedition. In today’s United States of America, Sacagawea would be either a high school freshman or sophomore training for softball playoffs and thinking about a summer job scooping ice cream.

How times have changed. Let’s take a closer look at Sacagawea.

  • Sacagawea means “Bird Woman”

  • She died at either age 23 or 24

  • She was born in Idaho in 1788

  • She was kidnapped at age 12 by the Hidatsa

  • A year later, Canadian fur trapper Toussaint Charbonneau won her and another young girl “Otter Woman,” (other woman??) in a card game.

  • What fun Otter/Other Woman and Bird Woman must have had sharing their engagement story with their friends

  • Sacagawea proved to be a real ace

  • Charbonneau married both of them at the same time

  • This helped them save a lot of money on catering

  • Charbonneau was 21 years older than Bird Woman and Otter/Other Woman

  • Charbonneau applied for a guide position to Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s Corp of Discovery program.

  • Lewis, who from here on in, referred to Charbonneau as “Shabono,” was not as interested in him, as he was the trapper’s multilingual child bride (for professional purposes only.)

  • Sacagawea spoke English, Shoshoni and other native languages

  • She also had the ability to restore peace, as indicated in Lewis’ journal entry:  “The Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter,” and, “the wife of Shabono our interpeter [sic] we find reconsiles [sic] all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions a woman with a party of men is a token of peace.”

  • She trekked, mostly on foot, thousands of miles leading a large group of men through the northwest wilderness with a baby strapped to her back

  • Along the way she bartered for horses, supplies and information

  • She never complained

  • She was actually included in votes as to where to set up camp, etc.

  • She had a second child, a daughter, after the expedition

  • She died of an unnamed, horrible illness soon after

  • She was the symbol of the National American Woman Suffrage Association

  • The U.S. Mint issued the Sacagawea dollar in 2001

  • It’s not a very popular currency with the public

  • She remains a symbol of strength

In closing, if Sacagawea could accomplish so much in her short life, especially after surviving a kidnapping, forced marriage and motherhood, and a gaggle of guys in unchartered territory, each of us can successfully navigate our way out of any challenge the universe throws at us.

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2 Responses to “Sacagawea, a token of strength and peace”

  1. onespoiledcat June 12, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    She was quite a woman…….that painting of her with her son is beautiful. Thanks for visiting Sammy’s blog today – it’s always nice to meet another spoiled cat! 😀

    Pam

  2. Mary Strong-Spaid June 13, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

    Beautiful painting!
    What an intricate and fascinating life she had. Incredible woman.

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