Sakakawea Statue

Sakakawea Statue (HMTFN)

Location: Bismarck, ND 58505 Burleigh County
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Country: United States of America
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N 46° 49.189', W 100° 46.886'

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Sakakawea has become a recognized name as part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Although her name is famous, few facts remain to document her life and contributions to the voyage. When Lewis and Clark met Sakakawea in 1804 she was about sixteen years old and married to the fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau. Sakakawea became a valuable member of the Corps of Discovery when Lewis and Clark hired Charbonneau as an interpreter to accompany them on their journey west.

On April 7, 1805, carrying her infant son on her back, Sakakawea set out with the Lewis and Clark expedition, providing translation and contacts with the Shoshone living west of the Mandan and Hidatsa. Lewis acknowledged her importance in a journal entry, noting that she was "our only dependence for friendly negocition with the Snake Indians."Lewis was referring to the Shoshone, who had horses they hoped to acquire for the mountain portage. Her recognition of landmarks in southwestern Montana encouraged the Corps as they made their way through uncharted territory, and Clark realized that Sakakawea and her baby offered another important service. In an entry for October 14, 1805, he wrote,"The wife of Shabono [Charbonneau] our interpreter we find reconsiles all the Indians as to our friendly intentions. A woman with a party of men is a token of peace."

Sakakawea has been the subject of much debate, from the spelling of her name to the time and place of her death. According to Charbonneau, her Hidatsa name meant "Bird Woman." north Dakota adopted the Anglicized spelling for easier pronunciation and call her "Sakakawea." Other common spellings are Sacajawea and Sacagawea. Most scholars, relying on William Clark's writing and other evidence, believe Sakakawea died at Fort Manuel on the Missouri River, just south of the border between North and South Dakota, in December 1812.

The Sakakawea Statue
Rewarded interest in the Corps of Discovery came with the celebrations of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904 and the Lewis and Clark centennial in 1905. The North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs, working with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, initiated a fund-raising campaign in 1906 to erect a statue of Sakakawea near the state capitol. Leonard Crunelle, a noted Chicago artist, was chosen as the sculptor. His completed statue of Sakakawea was unveiled at sunset on October 13, 1910. To commemorate the bicentennial of the Lewis and Clark expedition, a replica of the Sakakawea statue will represent the state of North Dakota in Statuary Hall, Washington, D.C.

Top Left Drawing
Pictograph of the three Hidatsa villages at the mouth of the Knife River where Toussaint Charbonneau and his wife Sakakawea were living when Lewis and Clark arrived in 1804. Two Mandan villages and Fort Mandan, the 1804 winter quarters of Lewis and Clark and their men were located nearby. The area, now known as the Knife River Indian Villages National Historic Site is located at the confluence of the Missouri and Knife Rivers, about sixty miles northwest of Bismarck.

Upper Right Photo
Leonard Crunelle, the sculptor of the Sakakawea statue, visited the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, home of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. Crunelle posed for a photograph at the John Nagle home about 1906.

Lower Right Photo
Sakakawea's son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, was born February 11, 105. William Clark affectionately nicknamed the baby "Pomp" and called the great natural landmark on the Yellowstone River "Pompey's Pillar." in honor of this youngest member of the Corps of Discovery.

Sakakawea's descendant, Mink, also known as Hannah Levings, a Hidatsa woman, was chosen as the model for Crunelle's statue. In this photograph Mink is posing for the artist, carrying a baby much like the sculpture illustrates.

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Date Added Sunday, October 19th, 2014 at 3:25am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14T E 364112 N 5186681
Decimal Degrees46.81981667, -100.78143333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 46° 49.189', W 100° 46.886'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds46° 49' 11.34" N, 100° 46' 53.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)701
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 604 E Boulevard Ave, Bismarck ND 58505, US
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