Interpreters with Lewis and Clark: The Story of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau

Overview

When interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian fur trader living among the Hidatsas, and his Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, joined the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1803, they headed into country largely unknown to them, as it was to Thomas Jefferson's hand-picked explorers. There is little doubt as to the importance of Sacagawea's presence on the journey. She has become a near-legendary figure for her role as interpreter, guide, and "token of peace.

Toussaint, ...

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Interpreters with Lewis and Clark: The Story of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau

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Overview

When interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian fur trader living among the Hidatsas, and his Shoshone Indian wife, Sacagawea, joined the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1803, they headed into country largely unknown to them, as it was to Thomas Jefferson's hand-picked explorers. There is little doubt as to the importance of Sacagawea's presence on the journey. She has become a near-legendary figure for her role as interpreter, guide, and "token of peace.

Toussaint, however, has been maligned in both fiction and nonfiction alike - Lewis himself called him "a man of no peculiar merit."

W. Dale Nelson offers a frank and honest portrayal of Toussaint, suggesting his character has perhaps been judged too harshly. He was indeed valuable as an interpreter and no doubt helpful with his knowledge of the Indian tribes the group encountered. And with his experience as a fur trader, he always seemed to strike a better bargain than his companions.

During the expedition Sacagawea gave birth to a son, Jean Baptiste. With her death in 1812, Clark assumed custody of her son and Toussaint returned to his life on the upper Missouri. Surviving his wife by almost three decades, Toussaint worked under Clark (then Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis) as an interpreter for government officials, explorers, artists, and visiting dignitaries.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781574411812
  • Publisher: University of North Texas Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2004
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,124,803
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


W. Dale Nelson spent forty years with the Associated Press, first in western bureaus and then in Washington, D.C., where he was honored with the Aldo Beckman Award, given annually by the White House Correspondents Association for excellence in reporting about the presidency. He is the author of two books and holds a master’s degree in library science from the University of Washington. He lives in Laramie, Wyoming.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 The Meeting 5
2 Winter 16
3 Against the Current 25
4 Over the Top 41
5 Fort Clatsop 47
6 Homeward Bound 55
7 Afterward 68
8 Father and Son 76
9 At Home and Abroad 80
10 The Prince and the Frontiersman 85
11 Glimpses of Baptiste 92
12 Desolation on the Missouri 96
13 Westward Once More 106
14 John B. Charbonneau 117
Epilogue 123
Notes 133
Bibliography 157
Index 169
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