Road Side Attraction #3

At the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Education Center

At the Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural and Education Center

Sacajawea Interpretive, Cultural & Educational Center

Given that the Lewis and Clark expedition would have been far less successful, and with more tragedies, were it not for the intelligence, skills, intuition and guidance of this young Agai Dika (Lemhi Shoshone) woman, I was expecting a larger center. But then, little is really known about Sacajawea, all the books written about her are mostly speculation and interpretation of the few facts of her life. Those facts are remarkable. There is little doubt that she was an extraordinary woman. Kidnapped as a young teen-ager by an enemy tribe, later sold to a French trapper, who gets a job with the expedition, bringing along his young wife, pregnant for the first time, she later is reunited with her family when the expedition wanders into her original home territory. The meeting seems by chance, but then they were in her homeland!

She chooses to stay with the expedition, with her baby. She was likely an adventurous young woman, she convinced Clark, once they were settled for the winter in what was to become Oregon, to let her go on a trip with a few of the men to the coast to find salt. She wanted to see the ocean!  There are many artists’ rendering of her, arms outstretched, walking on the beach, possibly the first of her people to do so.

After following the Sacajawea Scenic highway through the Bitterroot valley, we came upon the center late in day, just before closing. The woman at the front desk happily let us wander through, watch the video, and even invited Abby in. The interpretive center is situated on beautiful grounds, a 71 acre park appropriate for honoring a woman born somewhere in the surrounding lands.

I did not take a lot of photos, but wanted to share this special ‘road side attraction’, a tribute to a woman who had such an important role in the history of our country, and whose date of birth and true name is not even known.

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