Log in


Mystery, Myth, and Legend



$14.95, Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-941813-38-6

The eighth South Dakota Biography Series book

"Sacajawea: Mystery, Myth, and Legend" by Candy Moulton is a compact but definitive combination of biography and history that is especially and unreservedly recommended for personal, community, college, and university library Native American Biography and American History collections and curriculum studies lists.  —James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

Mystery, myth, and legend surround Sacajawea, one of the few American Indian women whose name and singular significance have not been lost to history. Without Sacajawea’s knowledge and assistance, the Corps of Discovery’s venture to explore the furthest reaches of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase may well have failed.

Sacajawea met Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, leaders of the Corps of Discovery, at the Mandan winter village in late 1804. Their expedition to the Pacific would require Shoshone horses to cross the Rocky Mountains. They anticipated a need for Sacajawea’s linguistic skills; she could translate Shoshone to Hidatsa for her husband Toussaint Charbonneau, who in turn could translate Hidatsa to French. When the Corps departed the Mandan village in April 1805, Sacajawea, Charbonneau, and their newborn son Jean-Baptiste accompanied them.

Sacajawea’s familiarity with the terrain and skills for living off the land became essential for the Corps’ survival. Not only did her Shoshone language skills prove indispensable for the Corps, but a chance reunion with her brother secured an alliance resulting in horses, supplies, and a guide. Significantly, having a woman with a baby as part of their entourage made the Corps appear as peaceful explorers rather than hostile invaders. Sacajawea’s myriad contributions thereby ensured the Corps’ success in reaching the Pacific Ocean.

In this new biography of Sacajawea, Candy Moulton reads between the lines of the journals and letters written by members of the Corps of Discovery to provide a fascinating portrait of the Shoshone woman who made possible the success of the venture. The author takes Sacajawea’s story beyond the triumphant return of the Corps to St. Louis in 1806, following the lives of her son Jean­Baptiste (b. 1805) and daughter Lizette (b. 1812). Moulton also examines the mystery of Sacajawea’s death and the competing claims that surround it, which have added to the legendary status of this remarkable heroine.

sdbioseries.jpgSacajawea: Mystery, Myth, and Legend is the eighth book in the South Dakota Biography Series, which highlights some of the most famous figures in the state’s history.

About the Author