The corps commanders, who praised her quick action, named the Sacagawea River in her honor on May 20, 1805. Did you know? The name is a compound of two common Hidatsa nouns: cagáàga ([tsakáàka], 'bird') and míà ([míà], 'woman'). The Lemhi Shoshone call her Sacajawea. Five days after the first members of the Corps crossed the Continental Divide at Lemhi Pass, Sacagawea did, as planned, translate the captains’ desire to purchase horses to the Shoshone they encountered. The name we know her by is in fact Hidatsa, from the Hidatsa words for bird (“sacaga”) and woman (“wea”). Lewis recorded their reunion in his journal:[9]. Perhaps most significant was her calming presence on both the expeditioners and the Native Americans they encountered, who might have otherwise been hostile to the strangers. The last recorded document citing Sacagawea's existence appears in William Clark's original notes written between 1825 and 1826. The Conquest: The True Story of Lewis and Clark (1902), was written by American suffragist Eva Emery Dye and published in anticipation of the expedition's centennial. And in North Dakota the official spelling is “Sakakawea.”) Her captors brought her to the Hidatsa-Mandan settlement near what is now Bismarck, North Dakota; the Mandan is an affiliated tribe. They recognized the potential value of Sacagawea and Charbonneau’s combined language skills. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Charbonneau spoke French and Hidatsa; Sacagawea spoke Hidatsa and Shoshone (two very different languages). Sacagawea was an important member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. [51], The first episode of the history podcast, The Broadsides, includes discussion of Sacagawea and her accomplishments during the Lewis and Clark Expedition. [8] It is the preferred spelling used by the Lemhi Shoshone people, some of whom claim that her Hidatsa captors merely reinterpreted her existing Shoshone name in their own language, and pronounced it in their own dialect[38]—they heard a name that approximated tsakaka and wia, and interpreted it as 'bird woman', substituting the hard "g/k" pronunciation for the softer "tz/j" sound that did not exist in the Hidatsa language. She was born c. 1788 into the Agaidika ('Salmon Eater'; aka Lemhi Shoshone) tribe near Salmon, Lemhi County, which sits by the continental divide at the present-day Idaho-Montana border. He was 61 years old, and the trip was too much for him. It is a story written in inspired spelling and with an urgent sense of purpose by ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary deeds. [T]he Sakakawea spelling similarly is not found in the Lewis and Clark journals. The spelling Sacajawea, although widely taught until the late 20th century, is generally considered incorrect in modern academia. Most of the Corps members spoke only English, but one, Francois Labiche, spoke French as well. Sacagawea became one of his two wives and was soon pregnant.

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