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Home > History > Sacagawea Biography - Lewis and Clark

Sacagawea Biography - Lewis and Clark

This is a biography about Sacagawea.
Sacagawea Postage Stamp

Sacagawea

Sacagawea was born sometime around 1790. She is best known for her role in assisting the Lewis and Clark expedition. She and her husband were guides from the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean and back.

Kidnapped and Sold Into Marriage

Sacagawea was kidnapped from her Shoshone village by Hidatsa Indians when she was twelve years old. She was promptly sold into slavery. She was then sold to a French fur trapper by the name of Toussaint Charbonneau. The pair became married and had a son named Jean-Baptiste.

On the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Although there are conflicting opinions concerning how important Sacagawea was to the Lewis and Clark expedition, she did serve as the interpreter and negotiator to the Shoshone tribe - that was led by her brother Cameahwait. She helped them obtain essential supplies and horses while she carried her infant son on her back. Furthermore, Sacagawea helped identify edible plants and herbs and prevented hostile relations with other tribes simply by being with the expedition. She was even more important on the return trip because she was familiar with the areas in which the expedition was traveling. Lewis and Clark received credit for discovering hundreds of animals and plants that Sacagawea had probably seen for years. Although she received no payment for her help, her husband was rewarded with cash and land.

Death and Adoption of her Children

Six years after the journey, Sacagawea died after giving birth to her daughter Lisette. William Clark adopted both of her children, but there are no records of Lisette. To this day, there are no reliable pictures or drawings of Sacagawea. Recently, the United States government engraved her image on the new one dollar coin. Sacagawea is buried in Lander, Wyoming.

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