Sacajawea

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Harper Collins, Nov 2, 2010 - Fiction - 1424 pages
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Clad in a doeskin, alone and unafraid, she stood straight and proud before the onrushing forces of America's destiny: Sacajawea, child of a Shoshoni chief, lone woman on Lewis and Clark's historic trek -- beautiful spear of a dying nation.

She knew many men, walked many miles. From the whispering prairies, across the Great Divide to the crystal capped Rockies and on to the emerald promise of the Pacific Northwest, her story over flows with emotion and action ripped from the bursting fabric of a raw new land.

Ten years in the writing, SACAJAWEA unfolds an immense canvas of people and events, and captures the eternal longings of a woman who always yearned for one great passion -- and always it lay beyond the next mountain.

 

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ISBN 0380842939 - As a kid, I planned to be Sacajawea when I grew up; books about her remain high on my list of interests. This book is fiction: this matters because I think it impacts how you read it. It is also huge, not quite 1400 pages: the text is 1326 pages - notes and bibliography take it to 1408. Those last 82 pages lend some credibility to the thought that the book is NOT fiction, a negative to me, as are the utterly useless maps that are too small to read. Almost worth every hour it takes to read. A short review is nearly impossible, but I've tried. Sacajawea's story, from her childhood with her Shoshoni tribe through her probable death in 1812 is fascinating reading. Kidnapped, traded, lost in a bet, Sacajawea remains strong - this strength serves her well when she and her white man, Toussaint Charbonneau, are chosen to act as guides and interpreters for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Across the country and back on his mother's back, Jean Baptiste is Sacajawea's link to everything of importance to her - her Shoshoni heritage, the white men's new ways and Captain Clark, who takes the boy under his wing and provides him an education after Sacajawea's real world death. The book takes a downward spiral after the author begins to write the story of the 75 or so years that Sacajawea didn't actually live. It is unacceptable to imagine that the woman of the first portion of the book simply left her beloved son behind and walked off into the plains. Pieced together from various tribal mythologies, since dis-proven theories and unreliable witness statements, her path takes her into and away from several tribes and places, providing her with several things she never had - a happy loving marriage, a reunion with her people, a place and name of respect during her lifetime, and a peaceful, dignified and painless death (in 1884). Sadly, it goes on so long and in such excruciating detail that there were times I almost gave up finishing. This is a really good read, despite the lack of historical accuracy in many parts. The Sacajawea in the story, while fictional, does provide a link between the world she was born into, free of white men, and the world that followed, when white men had destroyed many of the ways of Indian tribes and confined them to reservations. That both worlds are harsh, ugly, and brutal and still have beauty and hope is nicely written and Sacajawea, as a wise elder and a woman who has lived in both worlds, is a superb tool for defining the differences. That several states try to claim the title of her place of birth or death and that many Native American tribes claim connections that could not have been only highlights the status Sacajawea earned, albeit long after her death. Read it for the story, not for the history. 

Contents

Old Grandmother
3
Captured
33
People of the Willows
52
Bird Woman
72
The Wild Dog
101
The Trading Fair
123
Toussaint Charbonneau
135
The Mandans
159
The Columbia
489
The Pacific
510
The Blue Coat
531
Weasel Tails
544
The Whale
566
Book Four HOMEWARD
587
Ahncutty
589
The Sick Papoose
615

The Okeepa
189
The Game of Hands
215
Book Two RETURN TO THE PEOPLE
235
Lewis and Clark
239
Birth of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau
262
Farewell
286
A Sudden Squall
306
Beaver Bite
322
Sacajaweas Illness
334
Cloudburst
350
Tabbabone
360
The People
377
Divided
414
Book Three THE CONTINENT CONQUERED
431
Over the Mountains
435
Dog Meat
463
Retreat
636
Pompeys Pillar
651
Big White
667
GoodByes
680
Saint Louis
702
Judy Clark
736
Lewiss Death
758
Otter Womans Sickness
772
New Madrid Earthquake
793
Book Five LIFE AND DEATH
819
Lizette
827
School
839
Duke Paul
856
Jerk Meat
894
Comanche Marriage
940
Copyright

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Page 378 - She came into the tent, sat down, and was beginning to interpret when in the person of Cameahwait she recognized her brother. She instantly jumped up and ran and embraced him, throwing over him her blanket and weeping profusely. The chief was himself moved, though not in the same degree.
Page 510 - Great joy in camp we are in View of the Ocian, this great Pacific Octean which we have been So long anxious to See. and the roreing or noise made by the waves brakeing on the rockey Shores (as I Suppose) may be heard distictly.
Page 587 - Ocean, you may find it imprudent to hazard a return the same way, and be forced to seek a passage round by sea, in such vessels as you may find on the Western coast. But you will be without money, without clothes and other necessaries; as a sufficient supply cannot be carried with you from hence. Your resource in that case can only be in the credit of the US, for which purpose I hereby authorize you to draw on the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, of War and of the Navy of the US, according...
Page 236 - You must know in the first place that very sanguine expectations are at this time formed by our Government that the whole of that immense country wartered by the Mississippi and it's tributary streams, Missourie inclusive, will be the property of the U. States in less than 1 2 Months from this date...
Page 350 - Soon after a torrent of rain and hail fell more violent than ever I Saw before, the rain fell like one voley of water falling from the heavens...
Page 593 - The object of this last, is, that through the medium of some civilized person, who may see the same, it may be made known to the world, that the party consisting of the persons whose names are hereunto annexed, and who were sent out by the government of the United States...
Page 306 - ... her before the wind, lufted her up into it, the wind was so violent that it drew the brace of the...
Page 236 - Captain's commission which of course will intitle you to the pay and emoluments attached to that office and will equally with myself intitle you to such portion of land as was granted to off[ic]ers of similar rank for their Revolutionary services; the commission with which he proposes to furnish you is not to be considered temporary but permanent if you wish it; your situation if joined with me in this mission will in all respects be precisely such as my own.
Page 286 - ... &c. he had requested me Some thro our French inturpeter two days ago to excuse his Simplicity and take him into the cirvice, after he had taken his things across the River we called him in and Spoke to him on the Subject, he agreed to our tirms and we agreed that he might go on with us &c. &c. The "British traders...
Page 772 - The woman, a good creature, of a mild and gentle disposition greatly attached to the whites, whose manners and dress she tries to imitate, but she had become sickly, and longed to revisit her native country; her husband, also, who had spent many years among the Indians, was become weary of a civilized life!

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