‘The Lost Journals of Sacajewea’ recasts role of Sacajewea in the travels of Lewis and Clark


In an long-awaited follow up to her first novel, “Perma Red,” Debra Magpie Earling has released “The Lost Journals of Sacajewea,” a searing and hauntingly poetic work of fiction about one of the most famous and misrepresented Native women in history.

Earling started the project as a response to artwork at the Missoula Art Museum during the 2003-2006 bicentennial of the famed Corps of Discovery expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Sacajewea accompanied the explorers, helping guide them to the headwaters of the Missouri River. 

“The Lost Journals of Sacajewea” is written from the point of view of the Lemhi Shoshone woman known as Sacajewea. Her fictive journals describe the brutality she endured and her mental rebellions. There is little flinching in Earling’s writing, which depicts the blood and bile and grit of human survival in the face of violence, colonialism and rape.

“There can be great beauty in some of those really violent stories of people showing their internal power and the ways in which they have dignity in this world,” Earling told me in an interview for Montana Free Press. “The ways in which all of these things can befall them, but they still somehow have been able to maintain their culture and heritage.”

Read the full report at montanafreepress.org.

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