Sacajawea "Bird Woman"

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Sacajawea "Bird Woman"

Also Known As: "Sacagawea", "Sakakawea"
Birthplace: Lemhi County, Idaho, United States
Death: December 20, 1812 (24)
Fort Manuel Lisa, North Dakota
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Smoked Lodge and Otter Woman
Wife of Toussaint Charbonneau
Mother of J. B. "Pompey" Charbonneau; Lissette Charbonneau and Ticannaf Charbonneau Comanche Indian
Sister of Chief Kontakayak (aka Tamkahanka); N. N. and Cameahwait

Occupation: Native American Guide for Lewis and Clark expedition
Label: Legend has it that she did not die in 1812 but instead left to rejoin her tribe lived a long life there.
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Sacajawea "Bird Woman"


This Sacajawea appears to be the same as the Sacagawea Charbonneau listed at

content to clean up

In the early stages of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, at Fort Mandan on the Missouri River, an interpreter was engaged. This French-Canadian trader was named Toussaint Charbonneau. He brought along his young wife, Sacajawea, and their eight-week-old baby boy, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, strapped to his mother's back on a cradleboard.

Sacajawea was the daughter of a Shoshone chieftain. By the time the expedition reached Shoshone country, the explorers desperately needed horses. They encountered Sacajawea's band, now headed by her older brother Cameahwait due to the recent death of their father.

Elated to show her family the baby but grief stricken over her father's death, Sacajawea nevertheless arranged for horses and supplies. She and her husband accompanied the expedition to the Pacific and part of the way back, serving for 19 months. Charbonneau was paid around $500, but Sacajawea proved to be a more valuable guide and interpreter.

Sacajawea then disappeared from history. It was reported that she died of a fever in her 20s in 1812, although there were rumors that she returned to the Shoshone and lived until 1884.

Note: Sauvagesse was not really a "name" but a description. It's the feminine form of Sauvage, which translates to "savage."

The Faces of Sacagawea

There is no known image of Sacagawea that was made of her during her lifetime, so no one can be sure what she really looked like. Yet because the Shoshone woman has been the subject of so many sculptures and paintings, especially since about 1900, we have a rich heritage of artists' conceptions to contemplate. Meriwether Lewis, in his journal entry for August 19, 1805, left us a brief description of the general physical appearance of the Shoshone people, including their manner of dress. Some artists have taken it into account, others not.

Visual images of Sacagawea will be the primary focus of this episode, and more will be added to the gallery as we acquire them. but some short essays also will be introduced from time to time. Topics will include her name—its spellings, pronunciations, and possible meanings; her role in the Lewis and Clark expedition as an interpreter; her own work; and her her return home and her later years; and the history of the controversies surrounding the largely fictitious persona that scant facts have engendered. See, for example, the Hidatsa Indian legend about her death. Also, there's the long and increasingly bitter history of the noun by which Lewis and Clark occasionally referred to her in their journals—squaw.

Source:The Faces of Sacagawea | Discovering Lewis & Clark ® There is no known image of Sacagawea that was made of her during her lifetime, ... Sacagawea, Jean Baptiste, and Seaman ... Photography by David Nelson.


NOTICE: It has come to my attention that this cannot possibly be a real photograph of Sacajawea, as she died prior to the invention of photography. My best guess is that this is a photo of a wax museum piece, or a staged/posed recreation.

Photography was commercially introduced in 1869. Sacagawea lived between 1788 and 1812. So, that would have been before photography was around. I just know the website has the photo up and others. The photos are either titled or have the names of the person in the photo in the title. So, I don’t know if is another Indian woman named Sacajawea, but if that is the case they should explain that. Or they are trying to mislead people.

I just know that from all I have read, there are no known pictures of Sacajawea and I would think if this photo were real, it would probably be known by now.

“Real Picture of Sacajawea?”

Best Answer: she was mid-teens, 15 or so, when she met l&c. she died at 25 or so (1812), so that was well before the permanent photography was invented. As far as i understand it, there is not even a painting or drawing of her, so she is more like an artist rendition. later artists tried to portray her with shoshone features in speculating what she could have looked like, but this was long after she passed. Source: Yahoo Answers

Sacajawea - Stolen, held captive and sold, eventually reunited the Shoshone Indians. She was an interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806 with her husband Toussaint Charbonneau. She navigated carrying her son, Jean Baptiste, on her back. She traveled thousands of miles from the Dakotas to the Pacific Ocean. The explorers said she was cheerful, never complained, and proved to be invaluable. She served as an adviser and caretaker, and she is legendary for her perseverance and resourcefulness.
All of above added by Janet Milburn 11/6/17


"The wife of [Charbonneau] our interpreter we find reconciles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions--a woman with a party of men is a token of peace." ---William Clark

Find A Grave Memorial # 2321

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Sacajawea "Bird Woman"'s Timeline

May 1788
Lemhi County, Idaho, United States
February 11, 1805
Fort Mandan, ND
February 22, 1812
Fort Manuel, Missouri, United States, MO, United States
December 20, 1812
Age 24
Fort Manuel Lisa, North Dakota