Events of the I950s and I960s
As a well-respected educator and descendant of a noted Native American woman, Essie continued to promote the changing attitudes toward Indians in this country. Her celebration of the I50th anniversary of her great-great‐ grandmother's expedition with Lewis and Clark is detailed herein. During this period, Essie also took her unique perspective on children and youth to a White House conference in 1960.
The postwar decades brought immense changes in attitudes and actions regarding Native Americans. Essie's recounting of some of her activities during this time highlights the larger events and their impact on Indians in the United States.
In 1955 I was approached by some historically minded people from the Northwest who called themselves the Greater Clarkston Association. The organizers of this group lived in Clarkston, Washington, and were making plans to follow, as nearly as possible, the original trail of Lewis and Clark— by motorcade—to celebrate the I50th anniversary of the 1805 expedition. They planned to dress up like some of the major players in the expedition and the two organizers were to assume the roles of Meriwether Lewis (Art Rongstad) and William Clark (Harold Cole). They figured that since they were Masons, as were Lewis and Clark, that they were the obvious choices. They also were the organizers of the expedition.
They made preliminary travels along the route for the purpose of planning the trip, and one of their visits took them to the secretary of the Chamber of Commerce at Williston, North Dakota, with whom I had become acquainted during the time he served in Wahpeton, North Dakota. As they were discussing the trip with him, he asked if they had considered including an Indian woman to fill the role of Sacajawea, guide of the historic expedi