Sacagawea was a Native American and former member of the Shoshone tribe who joined the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific in the early 19th century. She was the only female to join the expedition and served as an interpreter for the group.Continue Reading
Born between 1786 and 1788 in present day Idaho, Sacagawea was the daughter of a Shoshone chief. Hidatsa Indians took her captive when she was 12 years old and eventually sold her to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French-Canadian trapper. He promptly made her one of his wives. She met Lewis and Clark while living with her husband in present day North Dakota in 1804. Although she was pregnant with her first child, she elected to join her husband and the explorers.
Her skills as a gatherer, interpreter and peace negotiator proved invaluable as she kept the expedition out of harms way with her former people the Shoshone. She discovered one of the leaders of a tribe of Shoshone was her brother Cameahwait and used her family connections to secure horses for the trek through the Rocky Mountains.
In 1805, she gave birth to a son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau and made the trek back to her home following the expedition's end. She gave birth to a daughter in Lisette in 1812 and died three months later.Learn more about US History