The journals fall short in the telling of who she was. To the Lemhi Shoshoni, she was one of them, kidnapped by a Hidatsa raiding party. However, some Mandan/Hidatsa claim her, since she lived among them when she passed through a Hidatsa rite of passage marking her entry into womanhood.
Rod Ariwite is a teacher currently working for the Bureau of Land Management and is close to receiving his PH.D.
Who was Sacagawea?
Like all of us, Sacagawea was molded by her family, her tribal members, and her experiences. To us she represents all that is good about our people, the Lemhi Shoshoni. Some native people criticize Sacagawea for helping the majority culture travel through our lands and eventually dominate us completely. However, we realize Sacagawea was only eleven years old when she was captured. She was a teenager when Lewis and Clark enlisted her and her husband to help them travel to and from the Pacific Ocean. We know from all the words written about her that she was an outstanding human being. Thus we honor Sacagawea for who she was, we know she was a good woman and a fine mother. For these things we proudly want the world to know Sacagawea is Lemhi Shoshoni.
Taken with permission from his message in the book by Ken Thomasma, "The Truth about Sacajawea".
Rose Ann Abrahamson, is a descendent of Cameawait. Rose Ann is a teacher and faithful attendant of the traditions of the Lemhi Shoshoni.
What does Sacagawea mean to the Lemhi Shoshoni?
"We are very proud. We realize that everyone has a destiny and that going on the expedition was her path. She was willing to take the risk to go on this rigorous journey and this speaks of her courage. The Shoshoni people take a holistic worldview and Sacagawea stayed true to those traditions. This gives our people hope and encouragement to embrace those traditions. Her family is grateful to have the opportunity to share the stories and awaken people to Sacagawea and the Shoshoni people. We have a very unique experience and the telling of Sacagawea's path experience will help open the hidden stories from the Native American perspective".
Keith Bear, Mandan/Hidatsa Musician and Storyteller
How significant is Sacagawea to the Hidatsa people?
"She is a very important part of our culture, because when most people think about Sacagawea they associate her here first, then they argue about where she came from but they always put her right here first. This is where she made her home, she made her name here, this is where she was loved and she was raised here. So when we talk about her it's not like talking about someone foreign. We speak of her in the most highly decorative ways because this was a young woman who helped open a whole nation".
Marilyn Hudson, Ft. Bethal Tribal Member. Member of the North Dakota Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council.
Different controversies surround Sacagawea's lineage. Do you believe she was Hidatsa?
"I think it's very difficult and we're not out to prove any particular legend or any particular point. I think that she's probably bigger than that now in terms of an American folk hero. And I think that's what she is, a Folk Hero. Like George Washington, did he really cut down the cherry tree? It's the principle of the thought rather than the fact; did he really do this? I think some of the things about Sacagawea have reached that historic proportion".Marilyn Hudson, Hidatsa
Amy Mossett is a Mandan/Hidatsa Tribal Historian. She is a member of the Ft. Bethal Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Council and a Storyteller of Sacagawea.
What values did she take with her from the Hidatsa people?
"She grew into womanhood in the Hidatsa culture. She came here as a young Shoshoni girl and when she lived among the Shoshoni I am sure she learned all the things that young Shoshoni girls learned. And when she came here and lived among the Mandan/Hidatsa she would have learned all the things that young women would learn. And when she grew into womanhood here at these Knife River Villages she would have learned all the same things that young Hidatsa girls learned here. I believe that is what she took with her, that nurturing, that care giving, that calm, quiet ability to cope with crisis. Those are the things that she learned as she grew into womanhood".