Bird Woman—Sacajawea - James W. Schultz

This moving account of the life of Sacajawea is recounted as told to some of the Sioux Indians and frontiersmen who actually met her and other members of the Lewis and Clark expedition. They tell, not only of her heroism during the great expedition, but of her early life, and the story of her capture by hostile Indians which ended in her marriage to a French trader. The author was a trader who lived much of his life among the Indians of Montana and knew members of Sacajawea's tribe personally .

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[Cover] from Bird Woman by James W. Schultz


[Title Page] from Bird Woman by James W. Schultz
[Copyright Page] from Bird Woman by James W. Schultz


I DEDICATE this book to my son, Hart Merriam Schultz, or Ni-tah'-mah-kwi-i (Lone Wolf), as his mother's people name him. Born near the close of the buffalo days he was, and ever since with his baby hands he began to model statuettes of horses and buffalo and deer and other animals with clay from the river-banks, his one object in life has been to make a name for himself in the world of art. And now, at last, he has furnished the drawings for one of my books, this book. His own grandfather, Black Eagle, was a mighty warrior against the Snakes. What would the old man say, I wonder, if he were alive and could see his grandson so sympathetically picturing incidents in the life of Bird Woman, a daughter of the Snakes?




Sho-sho'-ne Sa-ca'-ga-we-a—captive and wife was she

On the grassy plains of Dakota in the land of the Minnetaree;

But she heard the west wind calling, and longed to follow the sun

Back to the shining mountains and the glens where her life begun.

So, when the valiant Captains, fain for the Asian sea,

Stayed their marvellous journey in the land of the Minnetaree

(The Red Men wondering, wary—Omaha, Mandan, Sioux—

Friendly now, now hostile, as they toiled the wilderness through),

Glad she turned from the grassy plains and led their way to the West,

Her course as true as the swan's that flew north to its reedy nest;

Her eye as keen as the eagle's when the young lambs feed below;

Her ear alert as the stag's at morn guarding the fawn and doe.

Straight was she as a hillside fir, lithe as the willow-tree,

And her foot as fleet as the antelope's when the hunter rides the lea;

In broidered tunic and moccasins, with braided raven hair,

And closely belted buffalo robe with her baby nestling there—

Girl of but sixties summers, the homing bird of the quest,

Free of the tongues of the mountains, deep on her heart impress,

Sho-sho'-ne Sa-ca'-ga-we-a led the way to the West! —

To Missouri's broad savannas dark with bison and deer,

While the grizzly roamed the savage shore and cougar and wolf prowled near;

To the cataract's leap, and the meadows with lily and rose abloom;

The sunless trails of the forest, and the canyon's hush and gloom;

By the veins of gold and silver, and the mountains vast and grim—

Their snowy summits lost in clouds on the wide horizon's rim;

Through sombre pass, by soaring peak, till the Asian wind blew free,

And lo! the roar of the Oregon and the splendor of the Sea!

Some day, in the lordly upland where the snow-fed streams divide—

Afoam for the far Atlantic, afoam for Pacific's tide—

There, by the valiant Captains whose glory will never dim

While the sun goes down to the Asian sea and the stars in ether swim,

She will stand in bronze as richly brown as the hue of her girlish cheek,

With broidered robe and braided hair and lips just curved to speak;

And the mountain winds will murmur as they linger along the crest,

"Sho-sho'-ne Sa-ca'-ga-we-a, who led the way to the West!"

Edna Dean Proctor

[Contents] from Bird Woman by James W. Schultz
[Illustrations] from Bird Woman by James W. Schultz