When Sacajawea was a little girl, she was kidnapped, abused and heartsick. She had to live with people she didn’t know. Yet the Great Spirit was showing her something, for her heart was known…
What Sacajawea felt and saw, and what she chose to do helped her become the person she needed to be. For she was given a unique and magnificent purpose that transcended her lifetime.
What we do on this earth is only part of what we bring to generations. The body is merely temporal – our energy, our spirit, our vibration lasts an eternity.
Sacajawea has continued her journey for over 200 years. She still walks toward her purpose through the hearts of those who are open to learn and to listen. The days we breathe are the days we learn, and the revelations we awaken to, are what we bring to eternity. That is what ignites love in the world.
It is Sacajawea’s destiny to stoke the fire through her story and her light. It is our destiny, too.
“The language of the People makes my heart soar like a hawk.”
~ Chief Dan George
SACAJAWEA, The Windcatcher, gives us a unique opportunity to share with the world important languages that deserve to be protected and preserved.
Many Indigenous cultural dialects depicted in the Sacajawea story, have never been heard by most modern day people. The languages include: Shoshoni, Hidatsa, Mandan, Blackfeet, Nez Perce, Flathead, Snake and Clatsop.
As Lewis and Clark history records, one of the most moving encounters was when the captains needed horses from the Shoshoni to traverse the mountains. Sacajawea’s language proficiency was why she was on the expedition. They interpreted from Shoshoni (Sacajawea) to Hidatsa (Charbonneau, Sacajawea’s husband) to French (Private Labiche) to English. This exchange will create a powerful and meaningful scene in this majestic film.
Along with Sacajawea’s knowledge of Shoshoni and Hidatsa, we will show how she gradually learned English to help communicate throughout the story.
Other interpreters on the expedition included corps members: Private Labiche and George Drouillard, and a French fur trapper, Rene Jessaume. All these men were proficient in sign language and spoke English and French.
We will strive to present these languages creatively, using the universal sign language familiar at the time – to bridge the gap between understanding. Dialogue will be subtitled so we actually hear the words of the People in their own language, allowing the audience to participate more authentically in this emotional, epic adventure.
Soon, we will be sharing new members of our team who will help to bring our passion for authenticity through language to the world! Think of that, the WORLD will hear the words of Indigenous people from 1805, and a new awakening will begin!
The producers of Sacajawea, TheWindcatcher, an International feature film project about the life of Sacajawea, are proud to welcome Jhane Myers, award-winning producer and actor for the character of “Otter Woman.”
Jhane (Comanche/ Blackfeet) has garnered awards as a filmmaker, producer, actor, Native adviser and an artist of traditional jewelry and regalia. She was selected as one of the featured fine artists for the first ever Comanche Fine Artist calendar for 2016. She is a noted fourth generation dressmaker, third generation doll maker, beadworker and traditional regalia designer. She has worked in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, D.C and NYC, the Wheelwright Museum, the Indian Craft Shop D.C., the Autry Museum, Comanche Visitors Center and the Blackfeet Heritage Center. She was also a Community Curator to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian’s popular exhibition and book “Identity by Design.”
Otter Woman was a significant character in Sacajawea’s story. She was the older Shoshoni wife of Toussaint Charbonneau, the fur trapper who traded a gun for Sacajawea. She did not trust the white men, and she did not want the young mother to go with them.
“The relationship between Otter Woman and Sacajawea evolved through our story to be more like a mother and daughter. Jhane Myers is perfect for this role. As an Indigenous woman, a mother, who has worked in film for many years through acting and as a liaison for the tribes, she is invaluable to the production and we are so grateful to have her as Otter Woman.”
~ Jane L. Fitzpatrick
Jhane made history as the founding executive director of the American Indian National Center for Television and Film. The Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) formed the Center in Los Angeles, CA, with network partners Disney/ABC, CBS, NBC/Universal and FOX to increase the representation and visibility of American Indian talent in all aspects of the entertainment industry. She made her acting debut in an indie film called Bare (2015). Continuing in film she enjoyed being an associate producer on the PBS documentary La Donna Harris: Indian 101 (2014).
Hailing from the Penetuckah (sugar eater) and Yaparucah (root eater) bands of the Comanche Nation and Blackfeet American Indians, Jhane is dedicated to authentic Indigenous film producing, Native languages, Native cultural advising, acting and fine art. Jhane is a Sundance/ Time Warner Storyteller Fellow (2018) and Producer Fellow for (2017). She is known for the Comanche linguistics and culture in Monsters of God (2017), and Comanche linguistics in Magnificent 7 (2016). Multitalented and articulate, Jhane brought her cultural sense of self and Native community to public relations engagements for the film, Wind River (2017) and for her work as supervising producer of N. Scott Momaday: Words from a Bear (2019) for the American Masters Series, and as associate producer for the feature documentary, Defending the Fire (2017). Jhane can also be seen on camera in the TV series Native America,New World Rising (2018) and in the Sundance short film Over the Bridge (2016). She has also served as publisher and editor-in-chief of Oklahoma Casinos & Entertainment magazine, a motion picture publicist, directed her own public relations agency, Jhane Myers & Associates, and she has worked as a publicist to Mel Gibson on Apocalypto, which included organizing the premier at The Riverwind Casino in Oklahoma.
The entire production team for the Sacajawea film welcomes Jhane Myers to the project. They believe she will bring vital authenticity to the character of Otter Woman and as a producer on the project, she will also speak to accuracy and the critical Native American elements Sacajawea’s story deserves.
Journals help us remember experiences, hopes and dreams that form and shape us. For Ages, journaling has been a part of most cultures and traditions. In 1805-06, words written into journals chronicled the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which gave us a unique understanding of what happened on that journey.
As Sacajawea traveled with the Corps of Discovery, the captains and several other explorers wrote about her in their journals. One powerful entry gives us a snapshot of Sacajawea’s determination. But, to appreciate the grandness of this entry, we have to remember Sacajawea was a slave, she was a kidnapped, Native young woman living at a time when men dominated. So, for these men to actually write about her was astounding. But, for her to feel she could voice her opinion showed her incredible inner strength and character.
In this entry, Sacajawea had not seen the Great Water, and she wanted to so badly. She knew they would be returning east soon. So when the captains said they were going to the ocean to see a whale that had washed ashore, instead of being silent, Sacajawea stood up for herself. Here is the account from Captain Lewis’ journal written January 6, 1806:
“[T]he Indian woman was very impo[r]tunate to be permited to go [to the ocean], and was therefore indulged; she observed that she had traveled a long way with us to see the great waters, and that now that monstrous fish was also to be seen, she thought it very hard she could not be permitted to see either.”
From these and other words, written over 200 years ago, we formed the character of Sacajawea for the feature film, Sacajawea, The Windcatcher. Now is your opportunity to chronicle your own life events, your ideas and your dreams. This beautifully bound, reasonably-priced journal would be a most meaningful Christmas gift for a young person just starting their quest or an older person writing their memories.
Captain William Clark wrote this to Sacajawea’s husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, in 1806:
“[Y]our woman who accompanied you that long dangerousand fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserveda greater reward for her attention and services onthat rout than we had in our power to give her…”
People of America, we have in our power today to give Sacajawea the acknowledgement and reward she deserves.
I am so very proud and humbled to welcome Leo T. Ariwite, to the Sacajawea production team as Associate Producer. Leo has been on the production for many years as an adviser. He has given us a powerful endorsement that we have cherished for over seven years. Up until now, his quote has only been shared confidentially, but as our Shoshoni liaison, Leo has given us permission to now share it with the world (read it below).
With the telling of her story,Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, we wish to illuminate her quest, and the quest of her People, the Agai’dika Shoshoni.
The “heart” of this production is the spirit of Sacajawea and her love for her People. This journey transcends time and space. It is mesmerizing and astonishing how this incredible path has unfolded, intersecting lives from 200 years ago, with lives from today.
In 2004, while researching for the script, I came across a petition by Leo. This was during the bicentennial of the Lewis & Clark expedition. In the document, the Agai’dika Shoshoni People were petitioning the Federal government to acknowledge their People and return to them their sacred mountains and the Salmon River and Lemhi River areas in Idaho. Their requests have fallen on deaf ears.
Over these many years, since our initial contact in 2004, we have met with Leo four times (twice at Fort Hall, Idaho, once at Sacajawea’s birthplace in Salmon, Idaho and last year in Sun Valley). Leo is a valuable adviser, establishing authenticity, and he’s a credible advocate for the project. As a direct descendant of Sacajawea, he is the inspiration we’ve needed through some difficult times, always encouraging us to keep going.
On July 13, 2013, I received this email from Leo. It is his response to the unyielding force that has driven this Sacajawea project now for 17 years.
“Jane, Your endeavors have brought you to our doorstep and now that the door has opened we must take this journey together as did our people, when ‘they’ came into our country back in 1804/05.
Your quest is still before us as is our journey to return home, and it is with open hearts that we take this walk forward together and re-tell this epic journey in the truthfulness of both our histories. I am proud to say there is now a light at the end of that long dark tunnel, a future and a place we can call home. I am grateful for all the work you have done as I have been on this road and now it seems that I have company (you) to educate this great country of our rich heritage.
Perhaps this is a journey we can all complete as friends and as a people and as a country to learn about how my people opened this country to what it is today, the United States of America. People of all races and nationalities can look at ‘Sacajawea’ and say we came and established ourselves such as she did, and are proud to be Americans.
Please let me know what it is you would want of me and how I may be able to help in this great cause.
Friends always, Leo T. Ariwite, Agai’dika Shoshoni”
As a country, this is the least we can do for this woman who gave of herself in so many meaningful ways. We must come together, we must rise to a higher place and do the right thing for Indigenous People. This is the “greater reward” Captain Clark could not give.
You can join this quest of “two centuries.” You can be a part of history and changing our world. You can help to share the truth about this part of our journey and shine a light on the discrimination of the past toward Native Americans and toward women – discrimination that is still with us today. We must stand together! Sacajawea, The Windcatcher is OUR story, an American story, it is only fitting that WE tell it together! And, it is a story for the world!
Thank you, Leo, for your Indigenous wisdom and dynamic support. Thank you for your calm determination. We formally welcome you to our team!
A great vision is needed and the one who has it must follow it as the eagle seeks the deepest blue of the sky. ~Ta Shunke Witko
In an eagle there is all the wisdom of the world. ~Lame Deer
I am in awe and wonder at Indigenous wisdom and I am so very grateful… During the four years of writing the screenplay, Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, I noticed a bald eagle flying back and forth, nearly every day, across the field outside my office window. He was there in the morning and the evening, always landing on the very top branch of the same evergreen tree. He would slowly turn to survey his domain, so regal, so empowered by his surroundings. It was a mystical wonder, though at the time I did not fully understand why…
But, my research began to show the way. I learned that many Indigenous cultures give names, or take their names, from something they have accomplished or something that has meaning to their personal or spiritual lives. Historical records show that SacaGawea’s name was originally given to her by the Hidatsa people who captured her. The meaning of her name was, “Bird Woman.” So, I knew the birds, the raptors, the flying beings were significant somehow in her life. The Hidatsa saw it and honored it, so her story must honor it, too. I came to understand and believe the eagle was showing me.
This energy within the Sacajawea story grew and evolved as the words came to life, as her character and person began to come forth, and as more magnificent wonders were shown to us as we continued to walk. Symbolically, in the story, the eagle became Sacajawea’s Spiritual guide. He waited at the top of the trees above her… he came to her when she called. And her spirit was embraced, in her heartache, by his tender care.
MYSTICAL WONDERS: While writing this post, I wanted to find a picture of the tree the eagle landed on, near my home. I had to search through the photos from years and years ago… suddenly I was taken aback, in awe. I remembered snapping the picture and at the time not thinking about the tree. It was the rainbow that attracted me then. But this is how Spirit works, it gets our attention… and if we listen and act on our intuition (even though we don’t know everything), later – even years later – the reasons are revealed. You see, in this photo, it is not the rainbow that is the true meaning for us today as I write about the eagle. It is the eagle’s tree and how creation’s rainbow shines upon it. It is an affirmation that we can claim, at this moment, that we are on the right path.
We are truly humbled and blessed by these intricate, Spiritual messages that continue to shine a brilliant light on Indigenous beliefs, cultures and traditions that benefit us all. Through these revelations, I believe Sacajawea is showing us something remarkable, a healing power that will lift up people of the world. It is not about the color of our skin, our ethnicity or anything else – it is about our Universal Spirituality and remembering our Oneness with each other, and respect for the Earth.
Let us soar together on eagle’s wings…
Here are some of the many eagles that have personally led us on this powerful path:
Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, gives us a look at injustice in the early 1800s. Though we have come a distance with racial and gender issues in our country, we have a greater distance to travel. Our storyline presents an awareness we all need to embrace as free human beings.
While this film is Sacajawea’s story, there is another character whose life experience, and future outlook, run parallel to hers… York, Clark’s slave. York is 6’4” tall, with a big, boisterous laugh and a strong, rich singing voice. He is William Clark’s servant from childhood. Therefore, it is fitting that York accompanies Clark on this arduous journey.
In our story, we see York rise as a vital part of the Lewis and Clark expedition. He is looked up to by the Hidatsa and Mandan villagers, who are enamored by his black skin and long, curly hair – they think he is a “god.”
And even though he is a slave, on the expedition he is “allowed” to carry a gun and he is free to roam alone over the hillsides, hunt and protect the men. He is trusted, even though it is out of necessity.
Many evenings, around the campfire, York sings slave songs and dances with baby Pomp in his arms, delighting the soldiers. He loves Sacajawea’s child and greatly helps her on this harrowing trek.
One of the most powerful scenes in this film is at Station Camp, near the mouth of the Columbia River. It is November, and the corps must vote on where to build their winter fort. This is an official government decision, and as Sacajawea and York look on, they are astonished when Captain Clark asks them both to join the vote. An Indigenous woman and a black slave called to vote, before they even have the right to vote. This is a magnificent and empowering scene.
But, there is a constant shadow hanging over York… knowing he will have to return to his life as a slave. As he stands with Sacajawea at the ocean, he watches the rhythmic, unending waves with deep sadness. And, he says to her, “I be almost free here, now… but soon we go back.”
Sacajawea and York are both slaves in their own way. They cannot live their lives in freedom. The small freedoms they experience on the expedition, are not totally by choice. Yet, they both rise and embrace what they should always have, as people. Years later, Captain Clark acknowledges Sacajawea’s contributions and eventually gives York his freedom.
As with so many over the Ages, the treatment of these two human beings was not acceptable. But, our story shows the relationships and how the soldiers, in that snapshot of history, were able to accept them as individuals, even though it was out of need. We will never know if this changed the lives of these men in any way after they returned east.
But, one thing we believe, in that short moment in time, Sacajawea and York became relevant for us today. The darkness, the injustice, reveals the light. Their stories reveal the light. We are on a quest to open the doors wider, to help the light shine brighter, to bring the voice of truth to the world through this diverse and unique Journey of Discovery, so aptly named.
Sacajawea, TheWindcatcher, an International feature film production about the life of Sacajawea, is proud to welcome award-winning cinematographer, Mr. Robert Shacklady, as Director of Photography.
Robert is an internationally renowned cinematographer with a long track record of awards for the projects he has worked on around the globe. He is a voting BAFTA member and a member of the GBCT (Guild of British Camera Technicians). His wealth of experience comes from years in the film industry. Over his career, he shot for iconic brands such as BMW, McLaren, Ford, Boohoo, Philips, LG and he has worked with A-list actors such as Tom Hardy, Keanu Reeves, Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Craig, at some of the most amazing locations around the world including South Korea, Thailand, South Africa, Morocco, Sweden and Mexico.
Robert shot many feature films in the past, and he is currently cinematographer for several upcoming productions. He also worked on blockbusters such as Casino Royale; The World is Not Enough; The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising; Entrapment; Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, and The Beach. He shot several TV series including, Shadows of Death; award-winning, Serial Killer: Angel of Decay and additional photography for the Period series Sanditon. Robert’s diverse work has also included documentaries such as The Queen and the Coup about Queen Elizabeth II.
Robert has the unique ability to combine classical filmmaking with cutting edge technologies, technics, and innovations. This creative understanding allows him to achieve a sumptuous cinematic look and style for each film.
“Sacajawea’s story is an epic tale set against the backdrop of amazing natural beauty. I am really looking forward to cinematically translating her emotional journey for audiences to embrace and enjoy.”
~ Robert Shacklady
The Sacajawea team is extremely fortunate to have attracted Robert Shacklady as cinematographer for the production. With its majestic, cinematic locations, its epic scope, and the deeply personal insight of Sacajawea, Robert will capture her relationship with not only nature and her surroundings but also with the Indigenous vision she sees through her own eyes.
The entire production team is humbled and grateful to welcome Robert Shacklady to this important film that honors the contributions of all women in history, from around the world. www.warriorwomanspirit.com
For more about Robert and his dynamic career, please visit IMDB at:
Sacajawea, TheWindcatcher, an International feature film project about the life of Sacajawea, is proud to welcome Kaären F. Ochoa to the production team, as Director.
Kaären is an award-winning filmmaker, with three DGA Award nominations, the New Mexico Women in Film Sage Award for dedication and leadership in the film industry, and induction into the New Mexico Film & Television Hall of Fame this year. Two documentaries she wrote and field directed, as part of the La Raza Series for ABC/McGraw-Hill, were nominated for the Peabody Award.
With over 30 years in the film industry, Kaären has the knowledge and expertise to bring the character of Sacajawea to life – her history, power, perseverance and passion – all seen from Sacajawea’s perspective – on one of the most significant journeys in United States history.
“Jane Fitzpatrick has written a compelling and suspenseful script that allows us a window into the life and world of Sacajawea as she might have experienced it. A natural world that was wild and beautiful, capricious and often terrifying. A world that was known by the Native people who lived and died, summered and wintered, hunted and birthed within it, but was ‘unknown’ by late-arriving white men who had not yet travelled and trampled it. In this portrayal, Sacajawea is not defined by Lewis and Clark’s expedition, their expedition is defined by Sacajawea.”
~ Kaären F. Ochoa
A member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) since 1986, Kaären has worked as Assistant Director on such films as Milagro Beanfield War and A River RunsThrough It, both with Robert Redford directing; Crazy Heart, directed by Scott Cooper, with Jeff Bridges; Appaloosa, directed by Ed Harris; Selena, directed by Gregory Nava with Jennifer Lopez; Georgia O’Keeffe, directed by Bob Balaban, with Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons and most recently, the Disney film Stargirl. Her television work includes the mini-series Return to Lonesome Dove, Crazy Horse and Into the West. She AD’d the pilots for Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight and Season 2 of The Girlfriend Experience. As Unit Production Manager for Proof of Life, directed by Taylor Hackford, with Meg Ryan and Russell Crowe, she spent a year in Ecuador in 2000. In 2011, she was the U.S. Line Producer/UPM on the feature Gambit, starring Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz.
Kaären’s career began in Los Angeles as a writer, co-producer and director on documentaries and children’s films for ABC and PBS. She became a member of the newly formed Women in Film in Los Angeles and later a founder of New Mexico Women in Film, a board member for many years and past president. Since directing three short films, her current writing projects include the rewrite of a feature film in development, which would be her next directing project after Sacajawea, The Windcatcher.
Kaären has enjoyed mentoring other women and men, including many who are now active, long-time filmmakers. She is most proud of her daughter, 1st AD Chemen Ochoa, and her son, David Ochoa, who are both professionals in the film industry.
A mesa top, near Abiquiu, New Mexico, is home to Kaären and her husband, artist Doug Coffin (Potowatomi/Creek), where they enjoy good wine from their cellar and the beautiful views of Georgia O’Keeffe country. The entire Sacajawea production team welcomes Kaären F. Ochoa to the project, as they continue onward to produce this worldwide, epic film.
Darkness revealing light is what Sacajawea’s life shows us… She was a Native American woman from 1805. She was a stolen child, an orphan, a slave – abused and forced in so many ways.
Sacajawea had no voice and she saw hardship throughout her young days. She was sometimes sick and mostly sad, and her husband tried at every turn to control her fate based on his own selfish Will.
Throughout Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, we sense that this young woman’s greater self is at work. Yes, she uses her knowledge of tradition, ceremony and Mother Earth to be an important and valuable member of the expedition. But, we also sense something deeper – she claims a great wisdom in her spirit, even before she knows it. She walks this dark, harrowing quest, until she awakens to the sun and finds it is her own brilliant light.
We are going through the darkness right now in our own lives. But, it is different than usual, because we are all, collectively, walking together with the same pain, sadness, worry and fear… It is a wonder how we can be so at odds, when we could choose to awaken and love each other, no matter what. If we claimed our wisdom, we would find a light to guide us out of this place together.
History tells us, life was not easy or perfect for Sacajawea. And, though she may not have understood it in words, her Elders had taught her from a young age about the darkness and the light on EVERY path. It didn’t matter what was happening around her, she came to believe she was walking where she was called to go. I wonder if she ever imagined that her illuminating light would be seen for generations – that her spirit would be felt, for all time!
Through the darkest spaces, Sacajawea continues to see the sun…and so can we. Come with us, let us walk toward that sun, let us learn through our darkest times that we are all One, and we can get through this together. Let us become aware of our own magnificent and transparent Light. ~ Spirit Wind