Sacajawea and Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sacajawea and Lewis & Clark Expedition

2012-08-29 14.01.32

Click on the audio clip below to hear an interview with Kevin Locke on this mural:

The mural featuring Sacajawea and her cradled infant son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, with the explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark is an iconic image in the story of the American s illustrative scene on the banks of the Missouri River (Mnisose) of s Corps of Discovery depicted a familiar variation of the theme s ultimate success. Three local Native American men are included in the mural as scouts to support their westward journey. The Lewis and Clark expedition, also commonly known as the Corps of Discovery, 1804-1806, was an exploratory mission under the direction of President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803. Co-captains Meriwether Lewis, former Army lieutenant of the Virginia militia, and William Clark, also a former Army lieutenant who fought in the Northwest Indian Wars of the late nineteenth century, led a voyage party from St. Louis, Missouri, along the Missouri River to the Pacific Ocean. The goal of the expedition party, as defined by President Jefferson, was commercial, scientific, and humanistic in nature: to document the waterways for transportation and commercial use, to identify the animals, plants, and surrounding natural environment, and finally, to learn about the indigenous peoples who lived throughout this region. Sacajawea, wife of French-Canadian fur trapper and trader Toussiant Charbonneau, encountered the expedition party in early November of 1804 in present-day north central North Dakota during which time she was pregnant at the time of their initial meeting. The Corps of Discovery ultimately enlisted the help of Sacajawea for her native knowledge of the land that the expedition party had anticipated it would confront as the group passed through the Rocky Mountains and the headwaters of the Missouri River. Sacajawea is credited with her able assistance and local knowledge of the region during the Lewis and Clark expedition. Sacajawea (1788-1812) arguably never received the recognition she was afforded during her s enduring campaign and her intimate s achievements were recognized in 2000 by s bicentennial anniversary. The United States Mint featured Sacajawea on the golden dollar coin beginning that s obverse side portrays the Shoshone woman and her infant son in a design created by sculptor Glenna Goodacre.
Suggested Readings
Cook-Lynn, Elizabeth. New Indians, Old Wars. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.
Johnsgard, Paul A. Lewis and Clark on the Great Plains: A Natural History. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
Mann, John W. W. Sacajawea’s People: The Lemhi Shoshones and the Salmon River Country. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2011

Mural descriptions by Dr. Edward Welch, Humanities Professor at Augustana College, December 2012


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