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Book Cover
Author Kessler, Donna J.

Title The making of Sacagawea : a Euro-American legend / Donna J. Kessler
Published Tuscaloosa, Ala. : University of Alabama Press, [1996]
Online access available from:
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Description 1 online resource (xi, 258 pages)
Contents 1. Frontier Myths and "Indian" Images: Essential Elements for the Making of the Sacagawea Legend -- 2. Original Expedition Journals and Earliest Editions: Raw Materials of Legend -- 3. The Birth and Proliferation of the Sacagawea Legend: The Progressive Era -- 4. Variation and Elaboration: The Sacagawea Legend from the 1940s through the 1960s -- 5. The Sacagawea Legend Since 1970: Proliferation of Popular Traditions and Dissenting Portrayals -- 6. The Sacagawea Legend: Past Images and Future Prospects
Summary Sacagawea is one of the most renowned figures of the American West. A member of the Shoshone tribe, she was captured by the Hidatsas as a child and eventually became one of the wives of a French fur trader, Toussaint Charbonneau. In 1805 Charbonneau joined Lewis and Clark as the expedition's interpreter. Sacagawea was the only woman to participate in this important mission, and some claim that she served as a guide when the expedition reached the upper Missouri River and the mountainous region. Although much has been written about the historical importance of Sacagawea in connection with the expedition, no one has explored why her story has endured so successfully in Euro American culture. In an examination of representative texts (including histories, works of fiction, plays, films, and the visual arts) from 1805 to the present. Kessler charts the evolution and transformation of the legend over two centuries and demonstrates that Sacagawea has persisted as a Euro-American legend because her story exemplified critical elements of America's foundation myths - especially the concept of manifest destiny. Kessler also shows how the Sacagawea legend was flexible within its mythic framework and was used to address cultural issues specific to different time periods, including suffrage for women, taboos against miscegenation, and modern feminism. In concluding, Kessler summarizes the history of Sacagawea narratives and provides useful connections to other Native American works. This study attests that the Sacagawea legend illustrated and reinforced Euro-American frontier myths while it simultaneously allowed a populace to test and comment on critical, timely concepts unfolding within a dynamic society
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references (pages 221-247) and index
Notes Master and use copy. Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002. MiAaHDL
Print version record
Subject Sacagawea -- Legends.
Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-1806)
Shoshoni women -- Folklore.
Genre/Form Folklore.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 058527309X (electronic bk.)
9780585273099 (electronic bk.)
(alk. paper)
(alk. paper)