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Illustration: Adventure of a lifetimeIt worked. The 31 men, one woman, one baby and one dog of the Corps of Discovery left Fort Mandan on April 7, 1805, plying the Missouri in six canoes and two larger, flat-bottomed pirogues. Sacajawea set up a warm tepee the first night, a skill learned as part of her Agaidika education. Most of the men slept outside. The tepee was reserved for Lewis and Clark, Charbonneau and another civilian interpreter, and Sacajawea and her baby. It was used until it fell apart.
On the third day, Sacajawea dug Jerusalem artichokes for the men to eat. It was the first of many times she added variety to a diet that relied heavily on meat.
One of her most important contributions, however, was her mere presence.
Photo: Rod Ariwite Photo: Lemhi Speak Text "Sacajawea was more likely to know the terrain and the people. Charbonneau's other wife was a Wind River Shoshoni."  Rod Ariwite Though Lewis and Clark thought of themselves as traveling through unexplored territory, the continent west of the Mississippi was actually well known. It was home to dozens of Indian tribes who knew the land intimately and vigorously defended their turf. Intruders ran the risk of paying with their lives. Without Sacajawea and Jean Baptiste, the Corps of Discovery could have been mistaken for a war party and annihilated. The presence of a woman and a child assured potential enemies that its intentions were peaceful.
Sacajawea´s days began as they had in her homeland, except that now the morning bath included her infant son. It was a daily routine for much of the next 16 months. Wherever there was a river, she started the day by bathing herself and Jean Baptiste. When the rivers were frozen, she broke through the ice to get their bath water.

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The Idaho Statesman - Always Idaho -
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