This cemetery is named for the Shoshone woman who became an invaluable guide, interpreter and translator to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Fifteen year old Sacajawea accompanied her husband, fur trader Charbonneau, when he joined the Corps of Discovery in 1805. Throughout the 6,000 mile journey, her presence, with their infant son Jean Baptiste, was visible proof to other Indians that members of the Lewis and Clark expedition were not a war party. Captain Clark wrote, "The wife of Shabano, our interpreter, we find reconciles all the Indians, as to our friendly intentions. A woman with a party of men is a token of peace." The Eastern Shoshone believe Sacajawea is buried in the Wind River Mountains west of here, and Charbonneau's second wife, Sacajawea's sister, is buried in North Dakota. The tall granite headstone east of this sign is Sacajawea's burial marker. ❶ Fort Mandan, March 17, 1803 French fur trader and interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau, his wife Sacajawea, and their infant son joined the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery. The expedition departed on April 7, 1905. ❷ Camp Fortunate, August 15, 1805 Sacajawea recognized the Shoshone Chief Cameahwait as her brother, whom she had not seen since childhood. "She jumped up, ran & embraced him, & threw her blanket over him and cried
profusely." Their reunion was a pivotal moment in the expedition. The Shoshones were now willing to trust the strange white explorers and traded them the horses they so desperately needed to complete their journey. ❸ Fort Clatsop (now the town of Astoria, Oregon) Sacajawea helped defuse tensions between the expedition and local tribes by trading her beautiful beaded belt to a Chinook chief. She later insisted on traveling with the men of the expedition to view a beached whale. (She recalled this sight the rest of her life, and often told stories of "the big fish" and the ocean waves that went on forever.) ❹ July 3 - August 12, 1806 When Lewis and Clark split up to explore different routes on the return trip, Sacajawea and her family stayed with Captain Clark's group. She guided them over Bozeman Pass, to the Yellowstone River, and then on to rendezvous with Captain Lewis. When they met up with Lewis, he was recovering from a painful wound - he'd been accidentally shot through the butt by one of his own men!