Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau

Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau (abt. 1788 - 1812)

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Sacagawea Charbonneau formerly [surname unknown]
Born about in Salmon, Lemhi, Idaho, United Statesmap
Daughter of [father unknown] and [mother unknown]
[sibling(s) unknown]
Wife of — married in North Dakota, United Statesmap
Died in Fort Manuel Lisa, Mercer, North Dakota, United Statesmap [uncertain]
Profile last modified | Created 12 Sep 2014 | Last significant change: 10 Dec 2018
15:45: Nicolas LaPointe edited the Biography for Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau (abt.1788-1812). [Thank Nicolas for this]
This page has been accessed 5,069 times.

Categories: Lemhi Shoshone | American Notables | Lewis and Clark Expedition Project.


Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau was a Native American and member of the Lemhi Shoshone tribe.

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Red Bullet Lewis and Clark Space Page
Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau is Notable.

Other Name spellings - Sakakawea, Sacajawea, Sakagawea

Sacagawea (Unknown) Charbonneau was involved in the westward expansion of the USA.
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American Indian feather jewellery

Sacagawea also known as Sakakawea or Sacajawea, was a Lemhi Shoshone woman, who accompanied the Lewis and Clark Expedition, acting as an interpreter and guide, between 1804 and 1806.


Shashone woman with child

There is not much known about Sacagawea early life. She was born into [1] the Agaidika tribe of Lemhi Shoshone.Her father was a Shoshone chief. In 1800, when she was about twelve, she and other girls were kidnapped by the Hidatsa tribe.Sacagawea was taken as a captive to a [2]Hidatsa village.When she was thirteen years of age, Sacagawea was taken as a wife by [3]. Toussaint Charbonneau a trapper who lived in the villiage , he bought Sacagawea and another another Shoshone named Otter Woman from the Hidatsa.

In 1804 when the [4]Corps of Discovery arrived near the Hidatsa villages to spend the winter,Sacagawea was pregnant with her first child . [5][6]The Lewis and Clark Expedition built Fort Mandan for the winter of 1804-1805.[7]They were looking for interpreters and guides for their expedition up the Missouri River.They agreed to hire Toussaint Charbonneau as an interpreter when they found out Sacajawea spoke Shoshone, they knew they would need the help of Shoshone tribes on the journey.

William ClarkMeriwether Lewis
William Clark and Meriwether Lewis

Clark recorded in his journal on November 4, 1804

A french man by Name Chabonah, who Speaks the Big Belley language visit us, he wished to hire & informed us his 2 Squars (squaws) were Snake Indians, we engau (engaged) him to go on with us and take one of his wives to interpret the Snake language

Charbonneau and Sacagawea moved into the expedition's fort . Clark called her Janey ,Sacagawea's son[8]Jean Baptiste Charbonneau was born on February 11, 1805.The expedition left Fort Mandan in April,they headed up the Missouri River. Even with a young baby Sacagawea proved to be helpful in many ways on the trek. She found edible plants for the explorers. When a boat she was riding on capsized, she was able to save some of its cargo, including important documents and supplies. They named the Sacagawea River in her honor on May 20, 1805.The expedition had located a Shoshone tribe in August 1805, they wanted to trade for horses to cross the Rocky Mountains. Sacagawea interpreted for the expedition and discovered that the tribe's chief was her brother[9]Cameahwait.

Lewis recorded their reunion in his journal

Shortly after Capt. Clark arrived with the Interpreter Charbono, and the Indian woman, who proved to be a sister of the Chief Cameahwait. The meeting of those people was really affecting, particularly between Sah cah-gar-we-ah and an Indian woman, who had been taken prisoner at the same time with her, and who had afterwards escaped from the Minnetares and rejoined her nation.

Clark recorded also their reunion in his journal

The Intertrepeter & Squar who were before me at Some distance danced for the joyful Sight, and She made signs to me that they were her nation

Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia
Lewis and Clark on the Lower Columbia
The Shoshone agreed to the trade for their horses, they also provided guides to lead them over the Rocky Mountains.On the trip over the mountains they had to eating tallow candles to survive. When the expedition reached the the Columbia River, Sacagawea gave Lewis and Clark her beaded belt so could trade for a fur robe they wanted to give to President Thomas Jefferson.

Clark wrote in his journal on November 20, 1805

One of the Indians had on a robe made of 2 Sea Otter Skins the fur of them were more beautifull than any fur I had ever Seen both Capt. Lewis & my Self endeavored to purchase the roab with different articles at length we precured it for a belt of blue beeds which the Squar—wife of our interpreter Shabono wore around her waist.

Waterfall in the Wilderness

When they reached the Pacific Ocean they built a winter fort. On July 6 on the return trip, Clark wrote The Indian woman informed me that she had been in this plain frequently and knew it well.... She said we would discover a gap in the mountains in our directionwhich is now called Gibbons Pass.On July 13, Sacagawea told Clark to cross into the Yellowstone River basin,what is now known as Bozeman Pass. While traveling through what is now Franklin County, Washington, Clark wrote The Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter,and the wife of Shabono our interpeter we find reconsiles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions a woman with a party of men is a token of peace.

Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark at Three Forks
Sacagawea with Lewis and Clark at Three Forks

At the end of the journey, Clark wrote to Charbonneau

You have been a long time with me and conducted your Self in Such a manner as to gain my friendship, your woman who accompanied you that long dangerous and fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that rout than we had in our power to give her at the Mandans. As to your little Son (my boy Pomp) you well know my fondness of him and my anxiety to take him and raise him as my own child...If you are desposed to accept either of my offers to you and will bring down you Son your famn [femme, woman] Janey had best come along with you to take care of the boy until I get him....Wishing you and your family great success & with anxious expectations of seeing my little dancing boy Baptiest I shall remain your Friend, William Clark.

Sacagawea and her husband spent three years among the Hidatsa, after the expedition. In 1809 William Clark invited them to move to St. Louis, Missouri . William Clark enrolled their son Jean-Baptiste in a Saint Louis Academy boarding school.Sacagawea had a daughter, Lizette, sometime after 1810. [10]Historical documents suggest[11]Wyoming, USA Sacagawea died in 1812 of an unknown sickness.

An 1811 journal entry made by Henry Brackenridge, a fur dealer at Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post on the Missouri River

Stated that both Sacagawea and Charbonneau were living at the fort. He wrote that Sacagawea had become sickly and longed to revisit her native country. The following year, John Luttig, a clerk at Fort Manuel Lisa recorded in his journal on December 20, 1812, that "…the wife of Charbonneau, a Snake Squaw (the common term used to denote Shoshone Indians), died of putrid fever that she was aged about 25 years She left a fine infant girl

American Indian feather jewellery


  1. - Sacajawea and her people Lemhi-Shoshone Tribes
  2. Hidatsa - The Hidatsa are a Siouan people
  3. Toussaint Charbonneau - was a French Canadian explorer and trader, and a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition,and the husband of Sacagawea
  4. Wikipedia - The Corps of Discovery was a unit of the United States Army which formed the nucleus of the Lewis and Clark expedition
  5. Fort Mandan - Fort Mandan was the name of the encampment which the Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captian William Clark built for the winter
  6. Lewis and Clark Expedition - The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition, was the first American expedition to cross what is now the western portion of the United States
  7. Louis and Clark Journals - The Journals of the Louis and Clark Expedition
  8. Jean Baptiste Charbonneau - Jean Baptiste was the son of Sacagawea and her French-Canadian husband Toussaint Charbonneau
  9. Cameahwait - Cameahwait was the brother of Sacagawea, he was a Shoshone chief
  11. Find a Grave - Burial - Sacajawea Cemetery, Fort Washakie, Fremont County Find A Grave Memorial# 2321

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No known carriers of Sacagawea's mitochondrial DNA have taken an mtDNA test and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 5

Lewis and Clark Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sacagawea Charbonneau
Sacagawea Charbonneau

Lewis, Clark, & Sacagawea at Three Forks
Lewis, Clark, & Sacagawea at Three Forks



On 17 Sep 2017 at 23:34 GMT Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy wrote:

After the boat incident where her husband caused the items to float down the river and she alone, saved the items, and for all the hard work she had already done, when they decided where to stay for the winter, she had an equal vote.

Meltzer, Brad, Heroes for my Daughter, pgs 28-29, Harper Collins Publishing

On 30 Aug 2017 at 01:38 GMT Lisa (Kelsey) Murphy wrote:

Source: Dennis, Yvonne Wakim and Hirschfelder, Arlene, A Kid's Guide to Native American History, pgs 116-117, Chicago Review Press, 2010

On 5 Aug 2016 at 16:55 GMT L (Gauvin) G wrote:

On 11 Dec 2014 at 10:24 GMT Paula J wrote:

Image:Profile_Photo_s-268.jpg December 11, 2014

On 12 Sep 2014 at 13:29 GMT Paula J wrote:

Yay, Terry!! This is great!!

Sacagawea is 27 degrees from Sharon Caldwell, 20 degrees from Burl Ives and 22 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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