Of Sacajawea at the Big Water, John Clymer says, ” The Lewis and Clark Expeditions was sent to explore the vast territory added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. It began in 1804, near the present site of Saint Louis, and took more than two years to complete. During the first winter in North Dakota the expedition party was augmented by an interpreter, Toussaint Charbonneau, and his wife, Sacajawea, A Snake or Shoshone Indian. Sacajawea was valuable to the expedition because she could speak the Shoshone language, and it was her people they met when the expedition reached an impasse with their boats at the Salmon River and needed horses to cross the mountains before they would be trapped by the winter storms. Through Sacajawea’s intercession they were able to obtain horses and safe passage, and they eventually reached the Pacific Ocean.
While the Lewis and Clark party was wintering at Fort Clatsop, a few miles inland from the ocean, they learned that a large whale had been washed ashore on an ocean beach. When Clark and his party visited the place, Sacajawea, who had begged to g o along to see ‘the Big Water,’ was in the party. This must have been a great experience in her life and one of the wonders of the journey.”
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