Sacajawea was a Shoshone Indian woman who was abducted from her family when she was 12 by the Mandan people and later sold to a fur trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who took her as his wife.
She and Charbonneau accompanied Merriweather Lewis and William Clark on their Corps of Discovery adventure across America. She became one of the most valued members of the group. She was able to talk with native people they met along the way, resolving conflict and ensuring peace. She knew about medicinal herbs and edible plants, and her quick thinking aided the company many times.
William Clark said about her, “She deserves a greater reward for her service than we have power to give.”
For many years, Sacajawea was almost forgotten. A book published in 1902 restored her proper place in American history. Now, numerous memorials across the country honor her.
- Constructed in 1905, a bronze statue of Sacajawea is found in Washington Park, Portland, Oregon. Alice Cooper designed the sculpture; funds were raised by the National American Women’s Suffrage Association.
- At Sacajawea Park in Three Forks, Montana is a sculpture of Sacajawea entitled “Coming Home.” Sacajawea was abducted in that area. Although she met her people during her travels with Lewis and Clark, she didn’t go home in real life. A plaque at the park reads, “An Indian woman whose heroic courage, steadfast devotion and splendid loyalty in acting as Guide across the Rocky Mountains made it possible for the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806) to occupy so important a place in the history of this Republic.”
- A sculpture made in 2000 by Eugene Daub is found in Case Park in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The piece depicts Sacajawea with her baby Jean Baptiste on her back, as well as Lewis, Clark, and York, a slave who was also an important member of the group.
- The Sacajawea Memorial at Lemhi Pass and the Sacajawea Interpretive, Educational, and Events Center in the Lemhi River Valley on the Idaho/Montana border are dedicated to teaching the public about Sacajawea’s life. Sacajawea was born in this valley in 1788. The center features a sculpture of her, as well as an outdoor classroom, community garden, visitor’s center, and research library. Visitors can hike the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail.
- The Lewis and Clark expedition spent the winter of 1805 to 1806 in a fort near what is now Astoria, Oregon before they headed east. Today the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park memorializes their time here. A sculpture titled “Sacajawea and Baby” sits outside the visitor’s center.
- Abduct: to kidnap
- Depict: to show or illustrate
- Medicinal: used for medicine
Questions and Answers
Question: When did Sacajawea die and where is she buried?
Answer: People disagree on when and where Sacajawea died. Historians believe she left Charbonneau and went to Wyoming in the 1860s. A gravestone at the Wind River Indian Reservation says she died April 9, 1884 and is buried there. A memorial in Mobridge, South Dakota insists she died on December 20, 1812, which is probably more likely.
Watch a video about Sacajawea.
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Declan, Tobin. " Sacajawea Monuments and Memorials - American History For Kids ." American History for Kids, Aug 2020. Web. 05 Aug 2020. < https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/sacajawea-monuments-and-memorials/ >.
APA Style Citation
Tobin, Declan. (2020). Sacajawea Monuments and Memorials - American History For Kids. American History for Kids. Retrieved from https://www.americanhistoryforkids.com/sacajawea-monuments-and-memorials/