1994 29¢ Sacajawea
Legends of the West
Issue Date: October 18, 1994
City: Laramie, WY, Tucson, AZ and Lawton, OK
Quantity: 19,282,800 panes
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10
Born in present-day Idaho to Shoshone parents, Sacagawea was only 12 when she was captured by an enemy tribe and taken to what became North Dakota. In 1803, she was sold to French-Canadian fur trader Toussaint Charbonneau, who made her his wife.
That same year, the United States finalized the Louisiana Purchase, acquiring the vast area that lay between the Mississippi River and the Rocky Mountains. To explore the unknown territory, President Jefferson dispatched Meriweather Lewis and William Clark. By fall the explorers had reached the Missouri River, where they hired Charbonneau as an interpreter. Because she spoke Shoshone, they agreed to add Sacagawea to their party.
Carrying her infant son on her back, she guided the expedition over treacherous mountain trails and down roaring whitewater rivers. Often she would forage for food, and when a riverboat capsized, she rescued vital supplies. Her presence with the explorers also eased the suspicions of other tribes, for as Clark noted, “A woman with a party of men is a token of peace.”
When the group encountered a band of Shoshone near present-day Montana, Sacagawea discovered the tribe’s chief was her brother and was able to negotiate horses, without which the expedition might have ended.