PULLMAN, Wash. — The history department at Washington State University has announced a four-year, statewide program in observance of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial. Presentations will include a variety of formats from performances to discussions.
“Each presentation has a common theme,” said Roger Schlesinger, chair of the WSU history department. “All of the events will share the objective of introducing tribal perspectives.”
The Lewis and Clark event, “Sacagawea/Sacajawea and the Lewis & Clark Expedition: American Indian Perspectives,” will be at 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Samuel H. Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 203.
“All of the participants in the series are recognized authorities on various aspects of the Lewis and Clark expedition,” Schlesinger said. They include Sally McBeth, professor, University of Northern Colorado; Amy Mossett, Mandan/Hidatsa, the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota and tribal liaison for the National Council of the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial; Reba Teran, cultural director for the Eastern Shoshone Tribe, Wind River Reservation, Wyo.; and Rod Ariwite, Lemhi Shoshone, Idaho.
“People attending these presentations are likely to learn about the conflicting tribal accounts surrounding the identity of Sacagawea/Sacajawea,” said WSU history professor Orlan Svingen. “Was she Lemhi Shoshone or was she Hidatsa? There are also disagreements about her name and how long she lived. Did she die at the age of 24 in present-day South Dakota, or did she live into her 90s at the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming?” Svingen asked. “Tribal perspectives, including tribal oral histories, are vital to our understanding of the expedition.”
During November of both 2004 and 2005, the WSU history department series will go on the road to cities across the Northwest with historian, performer and professor Jeanne Eder, Dakota Sioux, presenting her portrayal of Sacagawea, the Shoshone woman who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition. Performances will be held in the Vancouver-Portland(Ore.) area and the Tri-Cities, Lewiston (Idaho) and Spokane.
Eder’s performance examines the myths about Sacagawea’s life and presents an often-overlooked historical perspective of Native American women. Again, historians and local tribal representatives will provide additional historical and cultural context.
The final event will be held in March 2006 and will focus on “Reflections on the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial.” Details of the event are pending.
For more information on the event, visit http://libarts.wsu.edu/lewisandclark/