Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • You might think you know a lot

  • about Native Americans through popular movies,

  • books,

  • and classes in school,

  • but it turns out that a lot of what we think we know

  • about famous Native American figures

  • isn't quite right.

  • Take Sacajawea for example.

  • You probably remember her

  • as a beautiful Indian woman who lived an exotic life

  • serving as the all-knowing guide

  • for Lewis and Clark's famous expedition, right?

  • Well, that's not exactly how it happened.

  • Not much is known about Sacajawea's early childhood,

  • but we do know that she was born in 1788

  • into the Agaidika Tribe

  • of the Lemhi Shoshone in what is now Idaho.

  • In 1800, when she was about 12 years old,

  • Sacajawea and several other girls

  • were kidnapped by a group of Hidatsa Indians.

  • She was taken as a captive to a Hidatsa village

  • in present-day North Dakota.

  • Then, she was sold to a French Canadian fur trapper

  • named Toussaint Charbonneau.

  • Within a year or so,

  • she was pregnant with her first child.

  • Soon after she became pregnant,

  • the Corps of Discovery arrived near the Hidatsa villages.

  • Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

  • built Fort Mandan there,

  • and then started interviewing people

  • to help guide them on their perilous expedition.

  • They agreed to hire Sacajawea's husband, Charbonneau,

  • with the understanding that his lovely wife

  • would also come along as an interpreter.

  • They figured her very presence would help

  • any encounters with native tribes along the way.

  • As Clark noted in his journal,

  • "A woman with a party of men

  • is a token of peace."

  • Shortly thereafter, Sacajawea gave birth

  • to a little boy named Jean Baptiste Charbonneau.

  • Clark called him Pompy.

  • She carried Pompy on a board strapped to her back

  • as the Corps of Discovery forged on.

  • Besides interpreting the language

  • when Lewis and Clark encountered Indians,

  • Sacajawea's activities as a member of the Corps

  • included digging for roots,

  • collecting edible plants,

  • and picking berries.

  • In 1805, the boat they were riding in was capsized.

  • She dove into the water,

  • recovering all the important papers and supplies

  • that would otherwise have been lost,

  • including the journals and records of Lewis and Clark.

  • Later that year, Captain Lewis and three men

  • scouted 75 miles ahead of the expedition's main party,

  • crossing the Continental Divide.

  • The next day they encountered a group of Shishones.

  • Not only did they prove to be Sacajawea's band,

  • but their leader, Chief Cameahwait,

  • turned out to be her very own brother.

  • After five years of separation

  • since her kidnapping as a young girl,

  • Sacajawea and Cameahwait had an emotional reunion.

  • Unfortunately, she quickly had to bid farewell

  • to her beloved brother

  • and continue on with the journey.

  • At one point, the expedition became so difficult and freezing,

  • the group was reduced to eating candles to survive.

  • When temperatures finally became more bearable,

  • Sacajawea found, dug, and cooked roots

  • to help the group regain their strength.

  • On the return trip,

  • they encountered an Indian wearing a beautiful fur robe.

  • Lewis and Clark wanted to bring the robe

  • to Thomas Jefferson as a gift

  • but had nothing to trade for it.

  • So, Sacajawea agreed to trade

  • her most precious possession, her beaded belt,

  • for the fur.

  • A little over two years after the expedition began,

  • it was finally over,

  • ending in St. Louis.

  • Today, we learn about Sacajawea in school

  • as a heroic guide,

  • but her life, like most everyone's,

  • was much more complicated

  • than history books sometimes give her credit for.

You might think you know a lot

Subtitles and keywords

B1 INT US clark lewis expedition fur encountered robe

【TED-Ed】The true story of Sacajawea - Karen Mensing

  • 26216 453
    稲葉白兎   posted on 2014/12/09
Video vocabulary

Go back to previous version