Triana becomes more like Princess Leia and less like Ariel in my second book, Settlers. Throughout the story Triana meets some interesting historical figures that prove courage comes in all different types of people. Just when you think you don’t have anything special to make a difference in the world, you can look back in history to see how average people accomplished amazing feats. Sacagawea is one of Triana's historical acquaintances in Settlers.
Sacagawea was best known for helping out Lewis and Clark, but I learned a few things about her that I didn’t hear discussed in history class. For starters, I thought she was a grown woman, but she was only a teenager. Lesson: Don’t let your age prevent you from doing great things.
Also she lived in a world where women didn’t have a lot of control over their lives, especially a Native American woman. Yet Sacagawea found a way to forge her own destiny among the greats in the history books. Lesson: We may not be able to governor our circumstances all the time, but we can control how we react to them.
At the age of 12 Sacagawea was captured by Hidatsa Indians, an enemy of her people, the Shoshones. A French-Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, bought her and made her one of his wives. Think about what you would do at that age if that was your fate? Could you become a useful hero or give up? Sacagawea didn't have any other options and accepted her path with dignity.
Sacagawea was the only woman to accompany Lewis and Clark’s group of thirty-three men. Her familiarity of native plants, the terrain, and different languages helped the mission succeed. The communication among the people who traveled with Lewis and Clark and those they encountered wasn’t a simple task. Sacagawea’s husband knew three languages: Hidatsa, Minataree, and French. Sacagawea knew Shoshone and Hidatsa. When they met people from the Shoshone tribe, she would have to interpret the message in Hidatsa to her husband. Then Charbonneau interpreted to another person in French so that they could tell Lewis and Clark the message in English. I don’t think I would have had the patience for all those interpreters. Seriously how did they not miscommunicate? It must have worked in its own way, because they kept their encounters with other tribes peaceful. They even managed to gain more supplies from some of the tribes.
Sacagawea was a true wonder. I’m directional challenged so it is hard to grasp how her knowledge of the land even from her childhood helped those on the expedition navigate. I’m also a wimp, so I can’t imagine having a baby as a teenager traveling with a group of older men. She wasn’t given maternity leave from the journey. She wasn’t even given a bouquet of flowers to congratulate her.
Her courage went beyond even what was expected of her. Sacagawea saved Lewis and Clark’s journals, scientific instruments, and specimens when their boat almost overturned. Members of the party struggled to paddle the waterlogged boat while she reached out to retrieve most of the men’s valuable cargo.
When they decided to build a fort for the winter, they allowed Sacagawea to vote where Fort Clatsop was going to be built. Was she the first American female to vote in the United States? Even if not, that showed me they respected her opinion enough to give her a say in their decision. She had proven her value without expecting accolades like people often do on social media when they post their “successes”.
While at the fort, a local Indian told them about a beached whale. Clark assembled his men to go retrieve what they could from the whale and Sacagawea insisted she accompany them, because she had traveled a long way to see the great waters. They let her go, but I imagine women in those days didn’t usually insist on their own way. Princess Leia would have been proud of Sacagawea. Who cares what Luke and Han says you can and can’t do, you’re going to do things you’re own way. Sacagawea may have felt like an average girl, but she proved you don't need magical abilities to accomplish great things.
I left out a bunch of interesting things about this incredible woman. You can read more on these links:
Blogs About An Author's Travels Through Life & the World