Researching Sacajawea

Anyone who has followed my blog for a long time knows that I admire and have great respect for Sacajawea.

Much like Pocahontas, Tituba and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, all that is known about their lives comes from accounts of other people. And because of this, Sacajawea, as well as the other mentioned women, there is a mystery about them.

Since their life stories did not come from their own account, but rather writings of those who knew them, it is hard to know a lot about them.

Despite this, I feel that Sacajawea was an incredible woman.

As strange as it may seem, I have always felt a connection to Sacajawea and for a long time, I have wanted to know as much about her as I can. I’ve read different books my library has to offer and I’m currently trying to find ones that will have accurate information about her.

The most recent book I’ve read about her is Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac. After reading Sacajawea, it made me want to write my own book about her eventually. I already have a general idea of where I want to go with it. Most books, non-fiction or fiction, teach that she died at 24. However, oral traditions say that she lived well into her 80s. I would like to write what is already known, but explore the oral tradition with my book.

For research, I’m currently rereading The Truth about Sacajawea by Kenneth Thomasma. I read this one a few years ago and really liked it. How it is different from other books I’ve read about Sacajawea is that the author actually talked to her tribe and the book even has their approval. It’s not a long book, but I’ve already got a lot of notes written down that I can use when I begin to write my book.

One of the things I’ve learned from the book is that there has been some controversy over the spelling of her name. You see, Sacajawea is not really the accepted spelling. Sacagawea is the accepted spelling. Irving W. Anderson is an expert on the Charbonneau family and he feels Sacagawea is the correct spelling. Hidatsa called her Sakaka or Bird Woman. The Lemhi Shoshone, her descendants, say it is Sacajawea. And since they are her descendants, I use their spelling of her name. I feel that they would better know the spelling.

I plan to do some more research online. The Lemhi Shoshone have their own website, which has information about her.

This time around researching Sacajawea, I have learned a few things I did not know. For instance, it is possible she may have had a daughter. But if she did, all that is really known about the daughter, at least that I could find so far, is that she was born.

I look forward to learning more things I didn’t know about this amazing woman. And eventually writing a book about her.


6 responses to “Researching Sacajawea

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