PIERRE, S.D. – (DRG News) Visitors from at least 15 different states will be in Pierre/Fort Pierre through the weekend to attend the Regional Meeting of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation. The gathering is being hosted by the Encounters on the Prairie Central South Dakota Chapter. The meeting is headquartered out of the AmericInn in Fort Pierre. Bill Stevens of Pierre is the chapter president and says the event is commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the Reported Death of Sacagawea. She was the Native American interpreter that assisted Lewis and Clark on part of their expedition to the Pacific Ocean more than 200 years ago. Stevens says some believe Sacagawea died in the years after the expedition-on December 20, 1812-at Fort Manuel Lisa. The fort was located along the river in what is present-day South Dakota. Today, Stevens says Sacajawea is considered one of the best known participants in Lewis and Clark’s expedition.
Stevens says although Sacagawea did not spend much time in what is currently the state of South Dakota; it’s believed she passed through the region twice after the expedition-traveling via river to and from the St. Louis area. It’s also widely thought that she perished of “putrid fever” at the age of 25 after giving birth to a second child-a daughter-and was buried outside the stockade walls of Fort Manuel Lisa-near what is now Kenel, South Dakota.
Members of the local Lewis and Clark chapter visited the site of the fur trading post-Fort Manuel Lisa-in July of last year. Some of the speakers at this weekend’s meeting focused on Sacagawea will include Dr. Brad Tennant of Aberdeen-who Stevens says will speak of the Arikara Indians and what happened with that tribe-which inhabited lands in current day North Dakota. He also says Dr. Gary Moulton of Nebraska, who is the editor of the “Definitive Journals of Lewis and Clark” (http://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/index.html) will also speak Saturday. Other guests include Barb Kubic of Washington who specializes in some details of Sacagawea’s life; Bev Hinds of Iowa, who will talk about specific medical and health aspects that modern day doctors believe lead to Sacajawea’s death and Ron Laycock-who will talk about Sacajawea’s son Pomp and other theories of when she died. The appearance of three of the speakers at the conference will be sponsored by South Dakota Humanities Council
It was about this time of year in 1804 that Lewis and Clark stopped in this area-at the confluence of the Missouri and Bad Rivers. That will be noted tomorrow-and a rededication will be held for two new Lewis and Clark interpretive signs at Fischers Lilly Park. These replace signs which were destroyed by last year’s flood waters. Sunday, meeting attendees will carpool north from Fort Pierre to the site where Fort Manuel Lisa once stood. For more information on the Encounters on the Prairie Chapter of Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage foundation, visit www.eotp.net.
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