Officially, the tribe continues to claim Sacagawea lived a long life among them, dying on the reservation.
A burial plot marker on the Shoshone Wind River Reservation in Wyoming proclaims that she died at
age 78, on April 9, 1884. Yet, tribal elders admit among themselves that it is probably not Sacagawea.
Historical evidence shows she died in 1812 at the Fort Manuel Lisa Trading Post. Her body has not
been found. Historical Evidence on Sacagawea’s Death
IS SACAGAWEA'S BODY IN HER SHOSHONE GRAVE?
Today, some current members of the Shoshone Tribe are willing to admit that they do not believe
that Sacagawea’s body is buried in the marked grave on the Shoshone Reservation in Wyoming
and that she probably died in 1812 as historians have said. Oral history passed down from tribal elders
reveal that they have known all along that Sacagawea did not live a long life, did not die on the
reservation and her body is not buried in the marked grave on the Wind River Reservation.
The body is that of another Shoshone woman. The Shoshone elders told tribal members to keep this
SHOSHONE TRIBAL MEMBER REVEALS TRUTH
In 2011, I spoke with Edmond Meeks, an enrolled member of the Shoshone Tribe who grew up among
Sacagawea’s people on the Wind River Reservation and he was willing to reveal the truth about
Sacagawea. Edmond Meeks (personal communication, November 28, 2011) told me the following:
“I have heard members of our own Shoshone Tribe say that the person that was buried here
in the Sacajawea Cemetary and later dug up and given a traditional burial up in the Wind River
Mountains, was not the Sacajawea of the Lewis and Clark expedition.”
More About Edmond Meeks, Shoshone, who gave me permission to quote him on this website. He was born
in 1944, in Fort Washakie on the Wind River Reservation and is enrolled in the Shoshone Tribe.
In His Own Words:
“I've spent a good deal of my time in the mountains searching out old trails that have been
long forgotten and verifying stories of places I heard of as a young man. I was allowed to hear
some of the stories "that are not to be passed on" and was given the reasons why they were
to be kept in the mind only until it is time for them to be told. I don't know why I was honored with
this information but am sure that the time has come for myself or another to tell these stories.”
WHAT CRUSHED THIS ONCE PROUD TRIBE? Waves of White People Came: settlers, soldiers,
and gold seekers who entered the door that Sacagawea helped to open.
The Corps of Discovery was commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson and led by Meriwether Lewis
and William Clark. Sacagawea and her husband, French trapper Charbonneau was selected to join the
Expedition as interpreters, because they knew the language of the Native Americans that Lewis and
Clark had decided were important when the explorers reached what was later called the Lemhi
Valley in Northern Idaho.
When explorers reached the Salmon River in October of 1805, they asked Sacagawea to persuade her
people to provide horses for the Expedition, which was badly needed in order to continue to the
The Chief of the Lemhi Indians at the time happened to be Sacagawea‘s brother, Cameahwait. The
Lemhi agreed to provide vital aid needed by the Corps of Discovery, however, by helping the United
States explore Shoshone lands, they hastened the day when their tribal culture would nearly disappear.
Fur traders followed, with a group of persistent fur trappers from Canada and Britain called the Snake
River Brigade. They roamed the country trading guns and kettles for pelts from the Lemhi
Shoshone. When the beavers became scarce from over-trapping, the fur trappers moved on, leaving the
Lemhi without the suppliers that had become necessary items in their already altered way of life.
Another opportunity came for the struggling Lemhi Indians when Major John Owen established a post in
the Bitterroot Valley in the mid-century, which became a center of trading activity. Owens’s journal
records the condition of the Lemhi during the transition period, after the Corps of Discovery and
invasion by trappers and traders. The condition of poverty followed the Lemhi Shoshone through the rest
of the century.
day to day. His journal entry of January 20, 1860 describes more Snake Indian Shoshone “begging
on the streets and destitute.” He continued, “How in Heaven's Name they pass the cold dreary
Nights is a Mystery."
|The story of the importance of
Sacagawea’s participation in the
exploration of the Pacific
Northwest often leaves out the
effect it had on her own tribe, the
Lemhi Shoshone who lived in the
upper Salmon River area.
This is why our website begins
with the profound effect the
Corps of Discovery had on
Sacagawea’s birth tribe.
A study of the Lemhi Shoshone also
becomes important because of the
negative tribal cultural practices
recorded by Lewis and Clark in their
Expedition Journals, and contrary to
historical record, the Shoshone claim
she died and was buried on the
|What Became of Sacagawea's Shoshone People
After the the Expedition?
|Conflicts arose over the miner’s intrusion into the hard-won
hunting and fishing rights of the Lemhi Shoshone. Tendoy, the
current Lemhi chief was able to obtain a 100-mile reservation for
the Lemhi, which stretched along the Lemhi River.
still living in the area because much of the terrain was rough and
did not produce enough fish and game for the Lemhi to live on. U.S.
Indian agents tried to encourage the Lemhi to farm and grow crops
on this small reservation, but the government delayed sending
them the promised tools and farmed equipment to properly work