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Whose journey is represented here?

Image of a map of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.  Image has five sections that are discussed in the text below this image. The country Lewis and Clark traversed was inhabited by a diverse array of indigenous people.  This map legend turns exploration into encounter, referring to the famous explorers as a group ('whitemen') and turning discovery into a 'meeting' with another group of those people -- the Shoshones (and in particular, the Lemhi band), who were especially helpful to the travelers. The Lewis and Clark party had traveled, chiefly by boat, westward along the Missouri River and its tributaries.  They knew, from maps done previously by trappers and traders, and from Indian maps drawn on hides or in the dirt, that they were coming to a place where they would run out of water and would need to travel over the Rockies on horseback.  Sacagawea was a Shoshone woman who joined the expedition at the Hidatsa and Mandan villages on the lower Missouri, where the party had spent the winter.  On this journey, as translator, forager, symbol of peace, and sometime guide, Sacagawea was crossing terrain that she had already covered years before as a captive child.  At this place, she was reunited with another explorer who had anticipated Lewis and Clark, a Shoshone woman who was captured with Sacagawea, who had managed, as a child, to escape her captors and make her way the hundreds of miles back to her people. Lewis and Clark bought horses and crossed the Continental Divide assisted by the Shoshones.  'I felt perfectly satisfyed,' wrote Lewis, 'that if the Indians could pass these mountains with their women and Children, that we could also pass them; and that if the nations on this river below the mountains were as numerous as they were stated to be that they must have some means of subsistence which it would be equally in our power to procure in the same country.' In 1932, when Laura Scott made this map, Lewis and Clark were long gone, but the Shoshone were still very much in residence in the West.  Along with the Arapaho, they then occupied, and still claim, sovereign land in western Wyoming, on the Wind River Reservation.

1. The country Lewis and Clark traversed was inhabited by a diverse array of indigenous people. This map legend turns exploration into encounter, referring to the famous explorers as a group ("whitemen") and turning discovery into a "meeting" with another group of those people -- the Shoshones (and in particular, the Lemhi band), who were especially helpful to the travelers.

2. The Lewis and Clark party had traveled, chiefly by boat, westward along the Missouri River and its tributaries. They knew, from maps done previously by trappers and traders, and from Indian maps drawn on hides or in the dirt, that they were coming to a place where they would run out of water and would need to travel over the Rockies on horseback.

3. Sacagawea was a Shoshone woman who joined the expedition at the Hidatsa and Mandan villages on the lower Missouri, where the party had spent the winter. On this journey, as translator, forager, symbol of peace, and sometime guide, Sacagawea was crossing terrain that she had already covered years before as a captive child. At this place, she was reunited with another explorer who had anticipated Lewis and Clark, a Shoshone woman who was captured with Sacagawea, who had managed, as a child, to escape her captors and make her way the hundreds of miles back to her people.

4. Lewis and Clark bought horses and crossed the Continental Divide assisted by the Shoshones. "I felt perfectly satisfyed," wrote Lewis, "that if the Indians could pass these mountains with their women and Children, that we could also pass them; and that if the nations on this river below the mountains were as numerous as they were stated to be that they must have some means of subsistence which it would be equally in our power to procure in the same country."

5. In 1932, when Laura Scott made this map, Lewis and Clark were long gone, but the Shoshone were still very much in residence in the West. Along with the Arapaho, they then occupied, and still claim, sovereign land in western Wyoming, on the Wind River Reservation.


Something More

Title: Map of a Section of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. "The Sources of the Missouri River and the Meeting Place of the Whitemen with the Shoshone Indians"
Artist: Laura Tolman Scott
Date: 1932


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