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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 7, 2004 - Issue 106


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Lemhi Shoshoni Explain Role in Journey Lewis and Clark Exhibit Includes Indians' Story

by Tim Woodward -The Idaho Statesman
credits: Rozina George at the dedication of a Sacajawea statue at the Idaho Historical Museum. - Statesman file photo

Rozina George at the dedication of a Sacajawea statue at the Idaho Historical Museum. - Statesman file photoMembers of Idaho's Lemhi Shoshoni tribe are getting rave reviews at the Lewis and Clark National Bicentennial Exhibition in St. Louis.

Members of the tribe are featured in and helped produce two films being shown at the $7 million exhibition, which opened this month at the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis.

One of the films is an orientation for the exhibition. The other, a documentary called "Crossing the Divide," tells the story of Lewis and Clark's encounter with the tribe of Sacajawea on Idaho's Lemhi Pass.

"It covers the meeting of Lewis and Clark with them and how that affected both the Shoshoni people and the expedition," exhibition curator Carolyn Gilman said in a telephone interview. "I hope the tribe gets some good publicity out of it, because they did a wonderful job. We're very pleased with the films, and our visitors also are impressed. We're getting a lot of very positive comments."

The footage for both films was shot last summer near Lemhi Pass, south of Salmon.

Some of the Lemhi Shoshoni people who participated were featured in "Sacajawea, Her Story by Her People," an Idaho Statesman 52-page special section published in November.

Sacajawea descendant Rose Ann Abrahamson appears in the orientation film. Her nieces, Summer and Challis Baldwin, play Sacajawea and another Lemhi Shoshoni girl in the documentary. The voices of Emma George, Eloise Lopez and other members of the tribe also are used. Rozina George was a consultant.

"She set up the whole shoot, lined up the actors and got them the costumes they needed," Gilman said.

"I did it because this is important to us," Rozina George said. "We want people to know our tribe's involvement in the Lewis and Clark expedition. It's important for the public to know that the true people of Sacajawea are the Agaidikas (a branch of the Lemhi Shoshoni). A lot of people incorrectly associate her with other tribes."

The 6,000 square-foot exhibition includes more than 450 artifacts, from Thomas Jefferson's letter of credit for the expedition to Meriwether Lewis' spyglass telescope to William Clark's handwritten, elkskin-bound field manual. It's the first time they've been assembled in one place since the Corps of Discovery returned to St. Louis in 1806.

The exhibition will remain in St. Louis until Sept. 6, then spend four months each in Philadelphia, Denver, Portland and Washington, D.C.

"I spent over four hours there and then had to rush through some of it," said St. Louis resident and former Idahoan Robert Hagar. "I'll plan on going again. It's an excellent display."

To offer story ideas or comments, contact Tim Woodward or 377-6409

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