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Sacajawea died a young woman in 1812 in South Dakota. So why is there a granite gravestone and a bronze statue in her honor on the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming? Anthropologist Tom Johnson, a long-time fieldworker among the Eastern Shoshone Indians, unfolds a captivating story of mistaken identity, manipulated facts, and disputed legend involving Sacajawea, the young Shoshone who accompanied the Lewis and Clark expedition. For over a hundred years, many have believed Sacajawea rejoined her people at Wind River where she died and was buried in 1884. Conclusive evidence surfaced in the 1950s that the woman in that grave was not Sacajawea. Through his careful unraveling of Shoshone oral tradition, bolstered by the discovery of a key historical document, Johnson strips away decades of cover-up to reveal the Wind River Sacajawea's true identity without discrediting Shoshone history and values. The reader is invited onto a contemporary reservation to share in conversations with Native people who have a stake in both perpetuating and disputing the legend of Sacajawea. Also Called Sacajawea touches upon a universal ethnohistorical theme: the elevation of oral tradition to honor the beliefs about ancestors. It also illuminates how the dominant culture imposes its values and attitudes on Native people. An ideal case study for those interested in Native American history, anthropology, religious studies, and women's studies. Includes self-contained reader's guide.
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