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The CorpsThe Faces of Sacagawea
Bismarck, North Dakota
Fort Benton, Montana

Bozeman, Montana

by Pat Mathiesen (1944)
North Seventh Street, Bozeman, Montana
J. Agee photo

his spelling has been attributed to Nicholas Biddle, the editor of the first edition of the expedition's journals (1814), who read the captains' usual orthography as a soft g (as in gem, or gentle), and replaced their g with a j.

Meriwether Lewis understood her Hidatsa name to mean "bird woman"--saca, "bird" and wea, "woman. On May 20, 1805, he wrote that they had named a tributary of the Musselshell River "bird woman's River, after our interpreter the Snake [Indian] woman."

The photographer of the view above (right) had just raised his camera to his eye when a bird obligingly alighted on Bird Woman's head, as if to reaffirm her name in behalf of all bird-dom. Obviously, many other avians had similarly anointed her brow.

--Joseph Mussulman

Bismarck, North Dakota
Fort Benton, Montana

From Discovering Lewis & Clark ®, http://www.lewis-clark.org © 1998-2014
by The Lewis and Clark Fort Mandan Foundation, Washburn, North Dakota.
Journal excerpts are from The Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, edited by Gary E. Moulton
13 vols. (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983-2001)