Sacagawea did not guide the Lewis and Clark expedition, as your story about the new dollar states. In Lewis and Clark’s journals, I find no instance where she directed or advised their course. Sacagawea perhaps saved the expedition a few beads when trading for horses with her brother in the Lemhi Valley of Idaho. Other than that, there is no contemporary record of her influence, Disney and the U.S. Mint notwithstanding. But it is an attractive coin.

D. Joseph Doucet
Caledonia, Minn.

The article perpetuates the highly inaccurate myth that Sacagawea “guided the Lewis and Clark expedition from 1804 to 1806.” Sacagawea’s “guide” services, over the years, have been blown out of proportion so as to obscure her true value to the Lewis and Clark expedition. This was in her role as an interpreter, as a stalwart contributor at many points by way of gathering food or performing other services, and simply as a woman traveling among a corps of armed men. Her presence was a significant token of peace to the various tribes encountered along the way. There is also the incredible coincidence that the chief of the Shoshone was her brother Cameahwait, whose willingness to provide horses was indispensable to the expedition’s success. Indeed, the U.S. Mint would have gone far toward correcting the historical distortions about Sacagawea and giving credit where due had it placed Sacagawea and Cameahwait together on the new dollar coin. Lewis and Clark would have been an even better choice.

Mark Lindamood
Annandale, Va.