By W. Dale Nelson

When interpreter Toussaint Charbonneau, a French Canadian fur dealer dwelling one of the Hidatsas, and his Shoshone Indian spouse, Sacagawea, joined the Lewis and Clark day trip in 1804, they headed into kingdom principally unknown to them, because it used to be to Thomas Jefferson's hand-picked explorers. there's no doubt as to the significance of Sacagawea's presence at the trip. She has develop into a near-legendary determine for her position as interpreter, consultant, and “token of peace.” Toussaint, besides the fact that, has been maligned in either fiction and nonfiction alike—Lewis himself known as him “a guy of no unusual merit.”

W. Dale Nelson deals a frank and sincere portrayal of Toussaint, suggesting his personality has probably been judged too harshly. He used to be certainly worthy as an interpreter and doubtless invaluable along with his wisdom of the Indian tribes the gang encountered. for instance, Toussaint proved his worthy in negotiations with the Shoshones for much-needed horses, and together with his event as a fur dealer, he continually appeared to strike a greater discount than his companions.

During the excursion Sacagawea gave start to a son, Jean Baptiste. together with her loss of life in 1812, Clark assumed custody of her son and Toussaint back to his existence at the top Missouri. Surviving his spouse by way of nearly 3 many years, Toussaint labored below Clark (then Superintendent of Indian Affairs in St. Louis) as an interpreter for presidency officers, explorers, artists, and vacationing dignitaries. Jean Baptiste traveled the Rocky Mountains as a mountain guy, was once a scout through the Mexican American conflict, and served as mayor and choose for the San Luis Rey Mission.

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Extra resources for Interpreters With Lewis and Clark: The Story of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau

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8 Sacagawea, sitting in the stern with her infant in a basket-like cradle made of cord the explorers had brought, busied herself catching articles as they floated out. ” Finally, with the waves running high and threatening to swamp the boat completely, Cruzatte threatened to shoot the steersman immediately if he did not do his duty. This worked, and Toussaint went to work to right the boat. Cruzatte ordered the other two men on board, neither of whom could swim, to start bailing with a couple of handy kettles.

Had we been a few minutes later we should have been crushed to attoms,” Lewis wrote in his journal. Even so the flames spread through surrounding trees, and the wind blew burning coals onto the tent. 11 Members of the Corps of Discovery were also encountering the grizzly bear. Toussaint, hunting with Lewis and others, met a grizzly on June 2 below the mouth of a river Lewis named the Marias. The bear came very near to catching Drouillard. Toussaint, a less experienced hunter, at first fired his gun in the air as he ran, then wisely took cover in some bushes.

Clark wrote that Toussaint’s other Shoshone wife, the younger of the two, would also be in the party. For some reason, plans were changed. M. on Sunday, April 7, the keelboat departed for St. Louis. Moments afterward, Clark and his men steered the canoes upstream. Lewis, the lover of solitary walks, decided that with so little daylight left, and the weather clear and pleasant, he would hike to their evening campsite. There, he shared a tent of dressed buffalo skins, tied Indian-fashion around ten or twelve poles, with Clark, Drouillard, Toussaint, Sacagawea, and her infant, not yet two months old.

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