Sacagawea Information

Early Life

 Sacagwea (suc-o-gu-wee-a) was born somewhere around 1788-1789.  Her name means "bird woman".  She was a Shoshoni (also spelled as Shoshone).  The Shoshoni were a large native group that ranged from Southeastern California across central Eastern Nevada, Northwestern Utah into Southern Idaho and Weatern Wyoming. All Shoshoni spoke a similar language.  Sacagawea's tribe was  the Northern Shoshoni.  She spent much of her youth moving around the regions of Idaho and Montana.  She ended up knowing these regions very well.  When Sacagawea was a little girl, she was alone with other women and children from her tribe when they were attacked by their enemy tribe, the Hidatsa.  As Sacagawea tried to escape this attack by trying to hide in a nearby stream, she was captured.  The Hidatsas kept Sacagawea as a slave, although she did not recieve much abuse.  When Sacagawea was twelve to thirteen years old, (somewhere near the 1800's) a French Canadian fur trader and trapper got possession of her.  His name was Toussaint Charbonneau.  He earned possession of Sacagawea by either trading, or he won her in a game of cards.  Toussaint lived amongst the Hidatsa which he could communicate by sign language.  This man made Sacagawea his wife although he was already married to another woman.  Sacagawea and Tousssaint did not marry by a formal ceromony, but lived together and had children.  Many trappers considered Indian wives highly desirable.