Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Previous post, I mentioned the Sacajawea-obversed one-dollar US coin, which apparently the mint refers to as a "golden dollar." It's copper, mostly, plus a little zinc and nickel, with traces of manganese.

(The cheap bastards pulled basically all of the copper out of the illustrious penny in 1983, by the way. They're now made almost entirely of zinc.)

But who was this lady?

Meriweather Lewis and company used her serices as a translator, pretty much. Want to see how this telephone game worked?

Sacajawea's native nation and language was shoshone, but spoke a bit of Hidatsa

Her "husband," Charbonneau was a French Canadian, spoke French, but also knew decent Hidatsa, among whom he lived.

One of the privates in L&C's expedition, Drouillard, knew decent French and reasonable English, the native language of Captain Lewis.

So, to sum up, the translation would go shoshone-hidatsa-french-english.

Try going to babelfish and translating at four levels. It gets ugly.

And Sacajawea? She was fifteen.

She had her child, pictured with her on the coin, during the expedition.

She became the "wife" of Charbonneau because of a bet. She was captured from her home by Hidatsa warriors, and Charbonneau won her, along with some other Hidatsa teenage girls from them. What a prize!

She got a nose job for the coin, by all accounts.


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