Sacajawea, also spelled Sacagawea (1788-1812) was a Shoshone Indian who guided and acted as interpreter and negotiator for Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on their exploratory expedition. She traveled with them from North Dakota to the Oregon coast and back.
Lewis and Clark met Sacajawea when they were camped for the winter at Fort Mandan in North Dakota. As a young girl, Sacajawea had been kidnapped by the Hidatsa Indians, and she was later sold to the French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau - she became his wife. Charbonneau and his pregnant wife Sacajawea were hired to help guide the Lewis and Clark expedition. Sacajawea carried her newborn boy along on the journey.
William Clark documented Sacajawea’s extensive contributions to the expedition, and he later cared for her son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (nicknamed “Pomp” or “Pompy”), at his home in St. Louis, Missouri.
Sacajawea died at Fort Manuel, South Dakota, on December 20, 1812, soon after giving birth to a daughter called Lisette (although there is an alternate theory that she lived to be a very old woman, living on the Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming). After Sacajawea’s death, William Clark adopted her two children, Jean Baptiste and Lisette.