Sacajawea: her true story

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As the author of SACAJAWEA: Her True Story, I'm pleased with the reaction to the book but even more thrilled over the interest in Sacajawea, even from overseas.  Although my e-mail is on only one website (it's, I'm surprised about how many comments and questions I've received, including three from the United Kingdom this week.  I try to personally respond to all the e-mails but I've also decided to use this forum to answer the best questions I receive, such as this one from Jeffrey Dawson, Wales: "An American friend told me about your book and I have ordered but not received it yet from Kingdom.  She also has sent me five of the Year 2000 Sacajawea Golden Dollar Coins, knowing my interest in the 1805-06 Lewis and Clark Expedition that ended merry-ole England's claims to the region stretching from the Mississippi to the Pacific.  I surf the internet for Sacajawea stuff and read more about your book and learned that the little Indian girl is vastly widening the gap as easily the most memorialized female in American history.  WOW!  I have a question.  As Sacajawea led the mission from the Missouri to the Pacific and back, were there any deaths among the members of the expedition on the arduous journey?"

ANSWER:  There were many close calls but only one member of the expedition died during the journey.  That was Sergeant Charles Floyd.  He died on August 20th, 1804, near present day Sioux City, Iowa.  It is believed his death was due to a burst appendix.


Carol Meminger; St. Paul, Minnesota: "I enjoyed your book and notice you spell your icon 'Sacajawea' but from time to time I see it spelled 'Sacagawea' or 'Sacakawea' or even 'Sakakawea' just as often.  Can you explain this to me?"

  ANSWER:  I use the "Sacajawea" spelling simply because she was a Shoshone and my Shoshoni friends think of her and spell her name that way.  In other words, Sacajawea is family to them and that gives them the perogative, I think.  If a white family had a daughter named Kathy, for example, I would think of Kathy with a "K" and not Cathy with a "C."  But I understand your confusion.  Sacajawea was Shoshoni but she was captured and enslaved by the Hidatsa Indians of Knife River in present day North Dakota when she was a child.  Her Hidatsa captors named her "Sacagawea," which to them meant "Bird Woman."  The Lewis and Clark Expedition helped reunite her with her Shoshoni people in 1805 and by then her brother Cameahwait had become Chief of the Shoshones.  Even within their own tribe, Shoshoni women often had several name changes from time to time but Sacajawea apparently liked her Hidatsa name and it closely resembled the Shoshoni name that meant "one who launches boats."  So, even today the Hidatsas and Shoshones pronounce the name basically the same except for the third syllable.  Lewis and Clark, on the expedition, spelled her name as they pronounced it -- "Sah-cah-gah-we-ah."  The Hidatsa word for bird is "sacaga" and the Hidatsa word for woman is "wea" and combining the two was how Sacajawea originally was named.  But the general acceptance of the name by her Shoshoni people affords them the right to start the third syllable with a "j" and not a 'g' and pronounce it "Sack-a-ja-wea," I think.  To the Shoshones, her name is "Sacajawea" and it means "boat launcher" but to the Hidatsas her name is "Sacakawea" and it means

"Bird Woman."  The third spelling -- "Sakakawea" --is promoted by the North Dakota Hidatsa and they pronounce it "sa-ka-ka-we-a."  In 1814, eight years after the expedition, a man named Nicholas Biddle edited the Lewis and Clark journals and corrected many of the explorers' spelling and grammar mistakes.  Biddle was the very first in the English language

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Grouping Information

Grouped Work ID 97eca000-e725-6022-809f-2d0ba0912178
Grouping Title sacajawea her true story
Grouping Author haney rich
Grouping Category book
Last Grouping Update 2019-01-01 01:10:20AM
Last Indexed 2019-04-22 05:03:29AM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Haney, Rich.
author_display Haney, Rich
available_at_pineriver Piner River Library
detailed_location_pineriver Pine River Adult Non-Fiction
display_description A biography.
format_category_pineriver Books
format_pineriver Book
id 97eca000-e725-6022-809f-2d0ba0912178
isbn 9780738814001, 9780738814018
item_details ils:.b46170583|.i91661341|Pine River Adult Non-Fiction|BIOGRAPHY / History / Sacajawea|||1|false|false|||||On Shelf||pran||
itype_pineriver Adult book
last_indexed 2019-04-22T11:03:29.474Z
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_pineriver BIOGRAPHY / History / Sacajawea
owning_library_pineriver Piner River Library
owning_location_pineriver Piner River Library
primary_isbn 9780738814018
publishDate 2000
record_details ils:.b46170583|Book|Books||English|Xlibris,|2000.|159 pages ; 22 cm.
recordtype grouped_work
Bib IdItem IdGrouped StatusStatusLocally OwnedAvailableHoldableBookableIn Library Use OnlyLibrary OwnedHoldable PTypesBookable PTypesLocal Url
ils:.b46170583 .i91661341 On Shelf On Shelf false true true false false true 131, 132, 133, 134, 135
subject_facet BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY -- Historical, Sacagawea, Women
title_display Sacajawea : her true story
title_full Sacajawea : her true story / Rich Haney
title_short Sacajawea :
title_sub her true story
topic_facet BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Historical, Sacagawea, Women