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sacajawea: Adventure of a lifetimeIllustration: Adventure of a lifetime

Photo: We saw people trying to get to us. You know how the mountains are. They have those rocks; they run. Then we saw one woman. She had a baby on her back. . They were trying to get down, you know, through those little, flaky rocks in the mountains. . She was here with those men with mozo (beards). They said there was two of them."

Lemhi elder Nessie Sheepskin, telling a story she heard more than 80 years ago from an old Lemhi woman, who heard it when she was young from women who said they saw Sacajawea entering the Lemhi Valley in 1805. Photo: Craddleboard

Sacajawea´s baby was born with a full head of dark hair on Feb. 11, 1805, eight weeks before the Corps of Discovery left its winter camp at Fort Mandan. Charbonneau named him Jean Baptiste. Sacajawea called him Baambi, a Shoshoni word for hair. Clark called him "Pomp."
Photo:A baby could be a liability on so perilous a voyage. Charbonneau could have chosen to take his other wife, but she was an eastern Shoshoni who didn´t know the Agaidika territory the Corps of Discovery would have to cross. Sacajawea would have been the logical choice for the expedition´s leaders. She knew the land and the people and might be useful in procuring horses from them.
Charbonneau, however, was not a man to let his wives call the shots. If she begged him to take her, he´d have feared that she´d return to her people for good and almost certainly refused. Her best chance was to feign indifference.


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Photo: bottom shadow