Sacajawea was a Shoshone Indian/Native American who assisted the explorers Lewis and Clark on their expedition, which was at the request of President Thomas Jefferson. Sacajawea’s story is important for children to know, because no matter what negative events came her way, Sacajawea always stayed strong. Her story is an amazing story of courage and strength in the face of hardship, at a time when women had very little rights.
Sacajawea grew up in the Shoshone reservation Northwest of Canada, but she was kidnapped by an enemy Indian tribe as a teenager, and grew up as a captive. She was later bought by a French fur trader named Toussaint Charbonneu, who took her as his wife. Charbonneu and Sacajawea moved to North Dakota where they met Lewis and Clark, who asked Charbonneu to join their group of explorers. Charbonneu joined the group, who became known as the Corps of discovery, but the group of men had to wait until the Spring to begin their expedition. During this time, Sacajawea gave birth to a son named Jean Baptiste, who was nicknamed “Pomp.”
When Spring arrived, the men set off to explore, but realized that they would need horses to go up and over the mountains. The only horses available on the mountain were owned by Shoshone tribe. Sacajawea was the only one who knew the Shoshone language, and they would need her to translate for them, so with her son on her back, Sacajawea traveled with Charbonneu, Lewis and Clark to Shoshone territory.
Throughout their travels to the Shoshone territory, Sacajawea showed wisdom, courage and strength that the men themselves did not display. She prevented supplies from being lost when their boat was tipped over; she kept her group from drowning during a flash flood while exploring a deep ravine, and she told Lewis and Clark about peace signs to wear on their face, which allowed Lewis and Clark to communicate with Shoshone women who got the word to their chief that the group wanted to buy horses. Sacajawea did all of this while carrying her infant son on her back.
It is very possible that without Sacajawea and her resourcefulness, Lewis and Clarke may not have survived their expedition. Sacajawea’s story is one that both boys and girls can appreciate because it is both a story of adventure, as well as one of bravery and courage. Sacajawea’s legend is honored today by a golden dollar coin.
Sacajawea: Her True Story is a Penguin for Young Readers Level 4 book for fluent readers. It has great illustrations and language that is understandable for children ages five years and older. However, for children younger than eight years-old, it is best read to a child by a parent, as the reading level is best suited for children who have fluent reading skills.
- Being different
- board book
- Women in History