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Illustration: Sacajawea with childShe learned about the moon houses where women went during menstruation, when custom required them to remain separate from the men.
She learned what to expect and what to do during childbirth.
Children were not allowed to be present during a birth. Babies were born in moon houses or special dwellings used only for child-bearing. Two stakes were pounded into the ground for the woman to grip during labor. A woman's mother or husband usually helped during birth. The baby was washed in the river and laid on cattails covered with soft rabbit fur. The highly absorbent cattails also were used to make diapers.
Photo: Gladys George Photo: Lemhi Speak Text "I was raised by my grandparents and went to a boarding school for two years to learn the white ways. I mostly learned the Indian ways. We used to camp by the river and get salmon. The ladies would dry it for winter food. We killed deer and dried the meat. We picked gooseberries and blueberries and dried those, too. We made baskets out of deer hide. We'd dry the skin of a big salmon and make an Indian suitcase out if it. It smelled."  Gladys George A girl only chose her husband if she was lucky. Marriages were arranged by her family, with her father playing a decisive role. Girls could be promised to a man years before they were old enough to marry. A girl with a stern authoritarian for a father had little choice but to accept the husband he approved. A girl with a kind, loving father would have considerable influence in the decision. Either way, wives were expected to obey and respect their husbands.
Depending on their ability to provide for them, Agaidika men had up to three wives. A capable provider who treated his wives well was in great demand.
Girls married between the ages of 14 and 16. Men were forbidden to have sexual relations with girls who had not come of age, even if they were married to them.
There was no formal ceremony of the kind we have today, but couples commonly chose to exchange vows and gifts. It was customary for the husband to give a gift to his new wife's father, and their parents also may have exchanged gifts. Sometimes there was a feast to celebrate.
By the time she was 12, Sacajawea would have had a strong sense of identity with her tribe and a clear idea of what was expected of her as a woman. She'd have learned virtually all of the skills she needed to survive in a camp or alone in the wilderness, to care for herself, a husband and a child, and to be a fully contributing member of her tribe.
She would need all her skills and resourcefulness for what lay ahead. In her 12th year, Sacajawea was the victim of a brutal attack. It would take the Agaidika girl from Idaho to center stage for one of America's great adventures.

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The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho -
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