The Expedition (called the Corps of Discovery) needed interpreters since the two leaders could not communicate with Native Americans on their own:

  • Sacajawea spoke Shoshone and Hidatsa.
  • Her husband spoke Hidatsa and French.
  • One of Lewis and Clark’s men spoke French and English.

The three interpreters also provided the means by which the Expedition could purchase supplies - especially Shoshone horses.

But there was a significant difference between Sacajawea and the rest of the Corps. The young Shoshone was a pregnant teenager. On 11 February 1805, Lewis made a note in his diary:

...about five oClock this evening one of the wives of Charbono [Sacajawea] was delivered of a fine boy [Jean Baptiste]. It is worthy of remark that this was the first child which this woman had boarn, and as is common in such cases her labour was tedious and the pain violent. (Journals, page 80.)

The rest of the journey, Sacajawea carried Jean Baptiste, strapped to her back, while she performed her Corps responsibilities. What she did on a daily basis during the expedition is unclear. But one event dramatically contributed to the mission’s ultimate success.


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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5186stories and lessons created

Original Release: Mar 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Dec 10, 2013

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"TEENAGE RESPONSIBILITIES" AwesomeStories.com. Mar 01, 2001. Apr 24, 2019.
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