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Lewis and Clark chapter presents 'Journey of Sacajawea'

Lewis and Clark chapter presents 'Journey of Sacajawea'

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Closeup of Sacajawea (copy)

It's said more rivers, lakes, parks and statues are dedicated to Sacajawea than any other woman in American history. 

She wasn’t on the payroll. Sacajawea, or Sacagawea, traveled with Lewis and Clark with her infant son for more than 16 months in 1805-1806 but only after they hired her husband Toiuissant Charbonneau to interpret.

“Despite artistic portrayals of her pointing the way, she ‘guided’ only a few times,” Montana author Barbara Fifer noted in 2005. “Still, Sacagawea remains the third most famous member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.”

On Thursday night in Lolo, a 60-minute PBS documentary, “Journey of Sacagawea” takes a look at “Bird Woman” from the American Indian perspective, with contributions by Shoshone, Hidatsa and Nez Perce tribal members.

The documentary helps explain why Sacajawea still captures the imagination and sparks tributes across the Western landscape. A sampling in Montana alone reveals the 120-year-old Sacajawea Hotel in Three Forks, with a statue of the “Bird Woman” and her son, Pomp, nearby. Parks named for Sacajawea grace at least half a dozen towns, including Missoula and Polson, neither of which Sacajawea ever lay foot in (but then Capt. William Clark never saw today's Clark Fork River either).

Sacagawea did pass through Darby twice, and that town sports one of many bronze statues of Sacajawea with Pomp strapped to her back in Sacajawea Rest Park.

A stone with a copper plaque “In commemoration of Sacajawea” was erected by the Montana Daughters of the American Revolution in 1915 alongside what’s now Clark Canyon Dam south of Dillon. The 30-mile long Sacagawea River flows into an arm of Fort Peck Lake in central Montana. And a Sacajawea Memorial Area is atop Lemhi Pass in southwest Montana.

Thursday's program begins at 7 p.m. in the Lolo Community Center and is open to the public. Chapter president Tom Schenarts will lead a discussion and take questions after the film.

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