Train Up a Child

“Grown men can learn from very little children for the hearts of the little children are pure. Therefore, the Great Spirit may show to them many things which older people miss.”

~ Black Elk

Thoughts from the Story of Sacajawea — 

It is February 11,1805. The biting wind rattles the shutters of the room at Fort Mandan. Outside, a full moon shimmers off the icy backs of buffalo, and a wolf stretches his neck out to howl across the frozen river.

It is a frigid night, yet a night that changes everything … for a newborn babe is born at Fort Mandan. Sacajawea, only 16 years old, through a difficult and painful birth, delivers her first child, a son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (Pomp). The explorers don’t realize it, but that night miraculously “shifts” the energy of the entire expedition. That night the “Universe” calls each of them to a new, higher purpose, through a brilliant Light – a child with unlimited possibilities.

Concept Artwork by Marcia K. Moore

At the time, the explorers and Sacajawea, did not know their position in the matrix of history. In fact, Captain Lewis had his doubts about taking a baby on that harrowing trek. None of the men understood the child’s importance for future generations. But, through the experience, each of the men were “called” to this unique moment in time, to help nurture the first-year of a child’s life. Indeed, it was a journey of discovery in more ways than one.

They watched him smile and laugh for the first time, they watched him crawl and walk and begin to eat on his own, and talk. They worried for his safety and some nearly gave their lives for his life. York, 6’4” African American slave, sang to him and carried him high above his head around the camp fire. Captain Clark loved him so much he nicknamed him “Pomp,” and called him his “little dancing boy.” They all cheered when he took his first step after a particularly stressful day on the trail.

The foundation of a human being’s journey begins in the first year of life.  Like a sponge they soak up every light and dark moment. Sacajawea and 31 men gave this little boy his beginning, and the expedition was far more enriched and powerful because of the child. Children are brought into our lives not only for us to teach them, but for them to teach us how to remember our spiritual selves – the ultimate calling. In Sacajawea’s story, it is Pomp who helps his mother deliver the prayer at the Great Water – a message to all people of the world.

After the expedition, Captain Clark did not forget about Pomp. When he was nine years old, the captain became his benefactor and gave him an education. The young man grew up and traveled to Europe, where he learned five languages and danced with queens.

Ultimately, Pomp became an explorer and an interpreter, known as a “storyteller” around the campfires of the old west. And, what incredible stories he had to tell! No one knows what his life would have been like, if he had not been apart of the Lewis and Clark expedition.  But, indeed, he was richly blessed with a unique and magnificent “first-year” journey of a lifetime.

ONWARD, toward our Quest.
Jane

Indigenous actor, Jhane Myers, cast as “Otter Woman” in Sacajawea, The Windcatcher

The producers of Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, 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).

Otter Woman and Sacajawea – Concept Artwork by Marcia K. Moore

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.

Learn more about Jhane on IMDB at: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6661151/

York and Sacajawea

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.”

Fort Mandan, North Dakota

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.

The Great Water, 1806

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.

ONWARD!
Jane

One Woman’s Life

the river June 2019

What will you do in your life? Will you just exist day to day or will you venture out, being a watcher of your heart? What do know, what is written there that you cannot ignore? And are you willing to go the distance?

Sacajawea, The Windcatcher is a journey of one woman’s life, yet as watchers of Sacajawea’s life, we bring her journey to ourselves.

She walked, she talked, she sang, she prayed on smoke to the Great Father. She knew joy and she knew pain… indeed, she had a dream written on her heart that she could see.

Over the last 31 years, I have visited many places where she had been, and I have felt her spirit with me. From Three Forks, MT, where she was kidnapped, to the Hidatsa village site in North Dakota, where cranes danced above my head, to the Oregon beaches where she saw a great whale and sent her prayers to every shore.

Take the visual journey of the places she has been, and as you see each photo, be a watcher of her dream. This is to be an epic film about a brief moment of time in the life of this soul who lived. Yes, she lived and loved… and had a dream we are making real.

ONWARD!
Jane

CLICK to see the images of her walk:

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