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Lewis and Clark Meet Sacajawea

Context for this Lesson


 FOCUS:  Lewis and Clark meet Sacajawea


Introduce: Teachers prep students by asking them if Sacajawea was going to visit what questions they might want to ask her. Compile a number of questions. Have students close their eyes and click their tongues, this is a time machine sound so that Sacajawea can travel forward in time to 2005 to meet them.


Teacher-in-rolei/Hot seating: 
Teacher enters in role as Sacajawea.
Thank you so much for inviting me here today. I am always pleased to share my story with those who are interested in hearing it. As you know my name is Sacagawea and I am a member of the Shoshone tribe. I understand that many of you are also members of tribe. What tribe are you from? I’ve heard of the Blackfeet, Sioux, Minnetaree, and the Nez Perce but not the Athabascan. It’s a pleasure to meet you.   My people the Shoshones live in the plains, we ride horses so that we can move quickly to hunt buffalo. I am an excellent rider. The only one faster on the horse than me was my brother Cameahwait and of course our father the chief of the Shoshone tribe.  
One day out on our horses we surprised by a loud gun shot. It was the Minnetaree our enemies. I jumped off my horse and hid behind a boulder. I watched as my father road into battle and was killed, although my brother escaped. I was captured by the Minnetarees and they made me a slave.  
The Minnetaree houses were very different than the teepees that I grew up in. The Minnetaree lived in mud houses. My people had constantly moved through the woods and plains following the path of the buffalo. With the Minnetaree I learned to plant corn and pick berries for food. When I was adult, the Minnetaree sold me to a trapper named Charbonneau who lived with a different Indian tribe. We lived together in relative peace until one day I head the strangest sound, and then I saw a large group of white men. I had never seen so many white men together before.
One of them was tall with a red beard Capt. William Clark. His partner was named Capt. Meriwether Lewis. Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clark were traveling a long distance. They stayed with us through the winter learning our Indian ways. They wanted my husband to help them through the country as a guide. That winter was a happy time because my son Pomp was born. Pomp means ‘first born in Shoshone. When Lewis and Clark heard I was Shoshone they asked me to come along too. They would need horses and my people had the best horses of all. So my baby and I joined Lewis, Clark, my husband and the other white people on their journey. It was a peaceful mission, and if other Indians saw us traveling with a woman a child they would know we traveled in peace.   We left for our journey in canoes on the river. Once, we got caught in rapids and my husband almost fell over. He was very scared because he can’t swim. He knocked our supplies in the water. Luckily I was able to grab many of them before they floated downstream.    Soon we came upon a giant waterfall. We had to take out our boats and travel by foot. There were rattlesnakes and storms, many of our group got sick. I got sick too and I almost died. Capt. Clark helped me many times over this difficult journey. Eventually we made it back to the river. Then I saw horse tracks, and foot tracks, finally I saw it  . . . my village.
 I ran in looking for my mother and sister but both of them were dead, but my brother, Cameahwait was alive and he was chief! At first my brother was scared, he had never seen a white man before. But I told him how good these white men were, that they had saved my life many times on the trail.    My brother gave them 12 horses and then they asked me to go with them. I decided to go. We continued on horse across the Rocky Mountains it was very cold and we traveled for three long months. Finally we saw the water that goes on forever. The ocean, we made it. I was the first woman to cross the Rocky Mountains to see things and places that my people had never seen. Afterwards my husband and my baby made our way back but we never found my brother or my people again.
Take questions from the students.


Image work/Freeze Frame: Explain that Sacajawea would like to remember her many adventures so that her children may help tell her story. Together we will create pictures of her journey so that we will always remember her bravery.
Have a student name something that Sacajawea did on her trip. Create a frozen image of the action. See how many different images you can create together. Or, have a student name and action and have all the students create the image at the same time.
Discuss what it was like to meet Sacajawea.

  • What do you remember from her visit?
  • What kind of person was she?