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    Patricia Rossi is America’s etiquette and protocol coach, with over 20 years experience in business etiquette and protocol training.

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The Sad Truth about Sacagawea

More than 200 years after Sacagawea traveled with the Lewis and Clark Expedition of across the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean, the circumstances surrounding her life continue to be muddled. In the early part of the 20th Century, The National American Woman Suffrage Association used the depiction of Sacagawea …created by writer, Eva Emery Dye in her book “The Conquest” where, instead of providing facts, she chose to deliver the world and American Suffragettes a legend. The book suggested Sacagawea was a “guide” for Lewis & Clark and did so with her newborn son on her back.

The truth about Sacagawea is instead the story of a young teenager, forced into slavery and marriage at just 13 by a Canadian trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who purchased her from the Hidatsa tribe after she was kidnapped along with four other girls a year earlier from the Shoshone tribe where her father was chief. He purchased her as a slave and made her his wife. Sacagewea became Charbonneau’s second wife. She was pregnant when Lewis and Clark engaged her husband, not Sacagewa, as a guide. Her participation was meant to provide the group with easier access through the trails, alleviating any suspicion that a group of only men might attract, and she knew little about the trail they planned to take.

She would eventually run into her brother on the trip, although she chose to stay with the group. Her son was born during the expedition.  Several years later, she would give birth to a daughter. The children were both adopted by Clark after it is believed that Sacagewa and Charbonneau died.  source: Wikipedia

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