Spelling of Her Name

Sacagawea or Sacajawea?

Various historians disagree over the pronunciation, meaning- either "Boat Launcher" or "Bird Woman", and spelling of her name - listed as either Sacagawea or Sacajawea, as well as a few other spellings, but all agree that her bravery and fortitude were instrumental to the success of Lewis & Clark's "Corps of Discovery."

We have decided to use the spelling "SACAGAWEA" for our new dollar coin, based on several contemporary works on this topic.

To quote from a recent publication:

"Translated, her name means 'Bird Woman,' and in their attempts to spell the Indians words, Lewis and Clark used variations of 'Sah-ca-gah-we-ah' and 'Sah-kah-gar-we-a.' (In 1814, when a version of the journals appeared, an editor changed the spelling to Sacajawea, which was the preferred spelling until recently, when most historians and official publications reverted back to Sacagawea.)

Lewis & Clark. The Journey of the Corps of Discovery. An Illustrated History by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Page 92.

Additional references to the Sacagawea spelling can be found in Stephen E. Ambrose's "Undaunted Courage(Simon & Schuster, 1996) and on PBS's Web site for its critically acclaimed series on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

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