Sacajawea (săk´əjəwē´ə, səkä´–), Sacagawea (–gəwē´ə), or Sakakawea (–kəwē´ə), c.1784–1884?, Native North American woman guide on the Lewis and Clark expedition and the only woman to accompany the party. She is generally called the Bird Woman in English, although this translation has been challenged, and there has been much dispute about the form of her Native American name. She was a member of the Shoshone, had been captured and sold to a Mandan, and finally was traded to Toussaint Charbonneau, one of whose wives she became. He was interpreter for the expedition. She proved invaluable as a guide and interpreter when Lewis and Clark reached the upper Missouri River and the mountains from which she had come. On the return journey she and Charbonneau left (1806) the expedition at the Mandan villages. While some historians date Sacajawea's death around 1812, there are others who claim that she was discovered by a missionary in 1875 and that she actually died in Wyoming in 1884.

See biography by H. P. Howard (1971).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Sacajawea: Selected full-text books and articles

The Making of Sacagawea: A Euro-American Legend By Donna J. Kessler University of Alabama Press, 1996
Women of the West By Dorothy Gray University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Sacajawea: The Shadows of History"
Between Worlds: Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors By Frances Karttunen Rutgers University Press, 1994
Librarian’s tip: "Over the Continental Divide: Sacajawea" begins on p. 23
Women and Western American Literature By Helen Winter Stauffer; Susan J. Rosowski Whitston, 1982
Librarian’s tip: "Sacajawea of Myth and History" begins on p. 70
Lewis and Clark among the Indians By James P. Ronda University of Nebraska Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: Appendix "A Note on Sacajawea"
Twenty Thousand Roads: Women, Movement, and the West By Virginia Scharff University of California Press, 2003
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 1 "Seeking Sacagawea"
Sifters: Native American Women's Lives By Theda Perdue Oxford University Press, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Sacagawea: The Making of a Myth"
Lewis & Clark: Legacies, Memories, and New Perspectives By Kris Fresonke; Mark Spence University of California Press, 2004
Librarian’s tip: "Sacgawea's Legacy and Women's History" begins on p. 244
Essie's Story: The Life and Legacy of a Shoshone Teacher By Esther Burnett Horne; Sally McBeth University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. One "My Relationship to Sacajawea"
Native American Women: A Biographical Dictionary By Gretchen M. Bataille; Laurie Lisa Routledge, 2001 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Sacagawea" begins on p. 261
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.