Sacagawea

Sacagawea

5.0 1
by Judith St. George, Connie Roop, Peter Roop
     
 

If it had not been for President Thomas Jefferson, Sacagawea would have lived out her life in the wilderness as the unknown Shoshone wife of a French-Canadian fur trapper. But in 1803 Jefferson ordered Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find a route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, and to gather information about the Indians they encountered. In a village on

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Overview

If it had not been for President Thomas Jefferson, Sacagawea would have lived out her life in the wilderness as the unknown Shoshone wife of a French-Canadian fur trapper. But in 1803 Jefferson ordered Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to find a route from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean, and to gather information about the Indians they encountered. In a village on the Missouri River, Lewis and Clark met Sacagawea, the young woman who would travel with them on their historic Journey of Discovery.

With her husband and her infant son, Sacagawea accompanied Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery as they braved rapids, blizzards, hunger, illness, grizzly bears and hostile Indians. She found them roots and berries to eat, helped them negotiate for horses, and explained their peaceful intentions to the tribes they met along the way. When they finally reached the Pacific, Sacagawea shared in their triumph.

Using the journals of Lewis, Clark and other members of the expedition, award-winning author Judith St. George brings to life the story of this remarkable woman and her contribution to one of America's great journeys of exploration.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Drawing from the journals of Lewis, Clark and other members of the 1804 Journey of Discovery expedition, St. George (Crazy Horse) has written an uneven biography of one of the most important women in 19th-century American history. Beginning with Sacagawea's capture from her native Shoshone tribe by the Minnetarees, the narrative follows her after she is sold into marriage to Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian trader and trapper who talks his way into being a paid interpreter of Indian languages for Lewis and Clark. The weakest part of the account is when the author gingerly explores what Sacagawea is thinking: "Charbonneau wouldn't have been Sacagawea's choice of a husband, but then what woman ever had a choice?" The author is at her strongest when she sticks to facts culled from the journals: details about the delicious Camas roots that, eaten to excess, make the explorers sick; the men's foolish pursuit of grizzly bears; sharp prickly pear cacti that cause boils and infections; the buffoonery of Sacagawea's husband; and the muted elation the company feels when, wet and bedraggled, they finally reach the Pacific. While filled with dramatic facts, the telling is so even-keeled that the hair-raising reunion of the Lewis and Clark parties after splitting up for 40 days is as briefly and dispassionately relayed as the account of Chinook Indians drying salmon along the riverbanks. And although the details of the expedition itself become clear, the woman Sacagawea remains just one step beyond the reader's understanding. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6A biography of Sacagawea from the time she was captured by the Minnetaree through 1806, when Lewis and Clark left for home. St. George draws heavily from the journals of Lewis, Clark, and various members of their Corps of Discovery, thus giving readers a good overview of their historic journey as well. As she did in Crazy Horse (1994) and To See with the Heart (1996, both Putnam), the author offers a portrait of a Native American in which her admiration for the individual colors her writing. The inclusion of Sacagawea's assumed reactions and emotions to events (which St. George clearly acknowledges in the introduction) seems awkward, and even condescending at times. For example, the metaphorical play on her name, which means Bird Woman, seems overdone. (In other words, "she had been given wings.") Nonetheless, the book is a well-researched, readable biography. Those seeking additional information on this expedition will find the extensive bibliography useful.Carolyn Angus, The Claremont Graduate School, CA
Kirkus Reviews
So little is known of Sacagawea's life before or after the Lewis and Clark Expedition that its story and hers are virtually the same, but St. George (To See with the Heart, 1996, etc.) enhances her account of the journey's oft-told incidents and accomplishments with a character portrait based on research and her own intuition.

St. George does not invent dialogue, but recreates scenes, such as Sacagawea's childhood capture by Minnetaree raiders, and suggests thoughts and attitudes: that Sacagawea would have marveled at the oddly regimented habits of the explorers and the way they continued to regard her people as children despite all evidence to the contrary; and that she lost her fear of them by watching them celebrate Christmas. As Sacagawea's pivotal role as translator, provisioner, and peacemaker is clearly laid out, she takes on a heroic cast, as a woman both savvy and wise, cool in emergencies (in sharp contrast to her no-account French-Canadian husband) and, with her newborn son, as much a comfort to the 33 members of the "Corps of Discovery" as she is an employee. It's a credible construct, enlivened by colorful details ("Dinner was spoiled elk, roots and rotten fish") and supported with a sturdy bibliography (although no specific citations).

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780399231612
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/1997
Pages:
128
Product dimensions:
5.88(w) x 8.63(h) x 0.59(d)
Lexile:
870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

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