Roseann Abrahamson and Leo Ariwite
Roseann Abrahamson and Leo Ariwite are Lemhi Shoshone. Lewis and Clark met the Shoshone in present-day Idaho in August of 1805. The Shoshone traded them horses for their journey over the mountains. Sacajawea was from this tribe. These excerpts are from an interview conducted in 2002.
If these men (Lewis & Clark) did not get horses, they would have to turn back. But their expedition was able to continue. And it was here, among the Lemhi Shoshone people, that the greatest moment of that expedition happened. It allowed that expedition to move forward.
There are two rivers that we consider to be our life source: the Salmon River and the Lemhi River. As you can see here, we are surrounded by our sacred mountains. We believe that our site is very powerful, as it is the site of the Continental Divide where the flows of the rivers break off into two directions. We believe this is the heart of our lives and our people.
And it is very important to us because generations upon generations of Lemhi Shoshone have lived here; and we believe that the top-most layers of the earth are the dust of our ancestors... for us just to walk where they have walked is very powerful and sacred to us.
We are the furthest, most northern tribe. We are the people of Sacajawea. We are a very proud people.
My people smoked the pipe with your people, the most sacred ceremony you can do; and a promise was made. I know that this Center (the Sacajawea Interpretive Center) is the beginning of that promise.
Our people were led from this valley, crying, in 1907. Maybe you can allow us to come home and take care of her dreams and hopes for her people, to take care of our homeland, to take care of the bones of her mother, her brother, her father and her sister. This is where we belong. Maybe that is what the legacy of the Lewis and Clark expedition is all about.
Lewis and Clark had some place to go and we helped them get there. Now we have some place to go, and we are asking help to get there. We want to go home.
I think we've sat silent long enough. It's our time to say, wait a minute, we're Sacajawea's people. We still exist, and don't take that away from us.