Research Programs: Public Scholars

Period of Performance

1/1/2020 - 12/31/2020

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

Sacagawea's World: Window on the American West

FAIN: FZ-266572-19

Elizabeth Fenn
Regents of the University of Colorado, Boulder (Boulder, CO 80303-1058)

Research and writing of a history of Native Americans in the Northern Plains and Rockies in the first half of the nineteenth century, structured around the life of Sacagawea, guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Sacagawea’s World uses the signal events and contested dimensions of one Native American woman’s life to convey a new, accessible narrative of the Northern Plains, Northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest to 1850. Sacagawea provided essential guidance to Lewis and Clark on their 1804–1806 trans-continental journey. But her life also illuminates a world in upheaval as Indigenous peoples engaged with global commerce, new modes of warfare, altered hunting patterns, environmental change, and ever-shifting power dynamics. How puzzling it is that despite Sacagawea’s renown, we know so little about the ways she and those around her experienced and engaged the world. I use a wide array of source material, including archaeology, rock art, landscape, oral accounts, legends, ethnographies, manuscripts, and a plethora of existing scholarship to bring this new narrative to life.