Sacagawea gives birth to Pompey
Americans forever remember Sacagawea as the brave Native American translator who traveled with Lewis and Clark – most notably with a baby on her back. That baby, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, was the son of a wealthy French Canadian fur trader, but found an adoptive father in William Clark, who nicknamed him Pompey. Pompey was born two months before the Lewis and Clark Expedition was set to depart to chart out the American West for President Jefferson. His mother, Sacagawea, was enlisted by the team to translate with the Shoshone Indians they would inevitably cross, and help secure supplies they might need. She and her adventurous son also alleviated any tension that could have arisen between the white explorers and the natives, since most native tribes knew that hostile travelers would not have come with women and children. After the expedition returned, Pompey and his mother went back to live with Charbonneau. While Sacagawea’s fate is still slightly mysterious, Pompey lived an illustrious and educated life, traveling throughout Europe, Africa, and the American frontier, largely thanks to Clark’s generosity.
Why do you think a woman and a child among a group of explorers introduce a feeling of peace for the natives? How do you think the expedition influenced Pompey’s later life?