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South Dakota's Great Faces: Sacagawea

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PIERRE, S.D. – Not only was Sacagawea (suh-KAHG’-uh-wee-uh) the only female member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, but she was a key resource in the success of the Expedition. Serving as an interpreter and continuously proving her bravery, Sacagawea is known as one of South Dakota’s Great Faces.
Sacagawea, a member of the Shoshone (shuh-SHOH’-nee) Tribe from the Rockies, joined the Lewis and Clark Expedition with her husband when she was 16, and gave birth to a son during the trip.
With a variety of skills, Sacagawea continuously proved to be a valuable member of the party. She was able to communicate with Native Americans and served as an interpreter and peacekeeper. With her knowledge and familiarity of the land, she collected food and medicine to keep the party healthy and strong. She risked her own life during a storm to rescue journals and writings that documented Lewis’ and Clark’s travels, making it possible to learn about the Expedition today. Her childhood memory of trails also allowed her to serve as a guide.
Just six years after the successful Expedition, Sacagawea died at age 25 in Fort Manuel, S.D., just north of Mobridge, after giving birth to a daughter. 
Today, visitors can walk where Sacagawea once walked and experience the historic Lewis and Clark Trail in South Dakota. To learn more about the Lewis and Clark Trail and where to experience it, visit for a downloadable brochure.
Media Notes:
  • Information for this release was obtained from the Public Broadcast System.
  • PHOTO: Replica of a keelboat used by explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark during their expedition of 1804-1806.

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