Please note: To view the design of this website, you need a browser that supports web standards. The content of this site is accessable (with no formatting) to any browser. Upgrade to a Web standards compliant browser


Current Chapter arrow  Current Page arrow

Illustration: Life with the HidatsasShe saw the value of the metal tools and implements and learned to use them, just as she learned new and useful things from the Hidatsas. But her native ways - the survival skills, cultural traditions and spiritual beliefs she learned in her youth - remained primary. For her time, place and age, she was becoming well-traveled, almost worldly. But she was first and always an Agaidika.
The skills she learned from her native tribe, her second tribe and the white explorers and traders would serve her better than anyone could have known.
Like those who were captured with her, Sacajawea lay awake nights on her bed in the earth-covered lodge and dreamed of returning to her people. Escape wasn´t impossible. As time passed, captives tended to be guarded less closely. In the dark, it might be possible to slip away. The thought was tantalizing.
Getting home again was another matter. Within hours, she would be missed. A search party would be dispatched, and her punishment if found would be severe. It was a long and hazardous journey to her homeland, especially alone on foot, and stealing horses from the Hidatsas without their noticing would be all but impossible.
For one of the Agaidika girls, the temptation was irresistible. She took a chance, beat the odds and made it home.
Photo: plate and utensils
Photo: Jed Wilson Photo: Lemhi Speak Text "The Lemhi men treated their women well. They were proud of their work. The women did most of the work in the camps, and the men were grateful for it. The Hidatsa treated Sacajawea like a slave, and Charbonneau didn't treat her right. He was a bully."  Jed Wilson For reasons that may never be known, Sacajawea didn´t go with her. She may have been bound or watched more closely than the other girl. She may have thought the chances of being caught were too great or the way home was too perilous. Whatever the reasons, her life with the Hidatsas continued as it had - with an important exception.
One day, a white trapper came to the Hidatsa camp. He spoke differently than most of the other white men, who seemed to have little in common with him. He had an Indian wife, and it was said that he was always marrying someone.
Sacajawea was pleased when she was told that his wife was a member of the Snake tribe, a term used for the Shoshonis. Some say the name came from a hand sign misinterpreted by the white men. The Agaidikas believe it was because their ancestors lived near rivers where there were snakes, used snake-like patterns in weaving their baskets, or resembled snakes in the way they sneaked up on their enemies.
The Snake woman and Sacajawea came to know each other well. The man who was always marrying someone was about to take another bride, and Sacajawea was about to shoulder her burden. His name was Toussaint Charbonneau.


Use of this site signifies your agreement with our Terms of Service (Updated: 01/03/03)
      
The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho - IdahoStatesman.com
 
 
Photo: bottom shadow