Sacagawea’s Early Life Born in 1788 or 1789, a member of the Lemhi band of the Native American Shoshone tribe, Sacagawea grew up surrounded by the Rocky Mountains in the Salmon River region of what is now Idaho.
When she was approximately 12 years old, Sacagawea was captured by an enemy tribe, the Hidatsa, and taken from her Lemhi Shoshone people to the Hidatsa villages near present-day Bismarck, North Dakota.
Sacagawea and her husband lived among the Hidatsa and Mandan Indians in the upper Missouri River area (present-day North Dakota). In November 1804, an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark entered the area.
Born into the Lemhi-Shoshone tribe of modern-day Idaho, Sacagawea had been abducted by the enemy Hidatsa tribe as an adolescent before marrying French Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau.
Some Native American oral traditions relate that, rather than dying in 1812, Sacagawea left her husband Charbonneau, crossed the Great Plains, and married into a Comanche tribe. She was said to have returned to the Shoshone in 1860 in Wyoming, where she died in 1884.
Sacagawea was not deaf. Her most important role in the Lewis and Clark expedition was as a translator. She spoke her native Shoshone language and
Sheppard counts herself among the hundreds of Sacagawea descendants on the Fort Berthold Reservation, homeland of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation. Sacagawea’s Hidatsa descendants’ voices, however, have mostly been unheard, unpublished.
Sacagawea, the Shoshone interpreter and guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition, gives birth to her first child, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.
William Clark was not actually a Captain in the Corps of Discovery, at least in the eyes of the U.S. Army. While Meriwether Lewis had requested that Clark be reinstated in the military in 1803 as a Captain, his request wasn’t granted and Clark was officially commissioned as a Lieutenant.
Many recorded documents and statements made by descendants, officials at Fort Washakie, and by the Federal Government record her death and burial place at the Sacajawea Cemetery, Fort Washakie, Wyoming in 1884.
Charbonneau was born near Montreal, Canada and was an independent trader, he obtained goods on credit and traded them with the Indians. He lived among the Mandans and Hidatsas and adopted their way of life. Sacagawea and Charbonneau lived in this cluster of earth lodges at the Hidatsa village.
Lewis and Clark Meet the Shoshone. Shoshone men on horseback–the Corps needed their horses! In August 1805 Lewis and Clark were looking for the Shoshone Indians. The Corps (Lewis and Clark’s expedition party) needed horses to cross the Rockies and the Shoshone had them.
Lewis and Clark: Native American Encounters In fact, the Corps encountered around 50 Native American tribes including the Shoshone, the Mandan, the Minitari, the Blackfeet, the Chinook and the Sioux. Lewis and Clark developed a first contact protocol for meeting new tribes.
In addition to being used for hunting, it’s likely that Captain Lewis could have used one of the horses as he explored the terrain along the banks of the Missouri, which he often did, studying the wildlife and plant life.
In the aftermath of the Bear River Massacre, white settlers moved unopposed into traditional Northwestern Shoshone lands. As American settlements grew around them, the few remaining Northwestern Shoshones lost their land base and could no longer sustain their traditional nomadic lifestyle.