Scene from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher
After a harrowing trek, near-starvation and dangerous conditions, the explorers finally make it across the treacherous mountains led by Old Toby, the Shoshoni guide. Their clothes are rotting off their backs – their moccasins worn through, and the lack of food and water has made them weak and vulnerable. But then, their guide sees the crooked tree trunk, affirming the trail. He points ahead… and they continue to trudge onward on a worn path through the trees until they arrive at an abandoned Indian village.
Sacajawea and the men are exhausted, the baby is hungry and crying. A large pack of wild dogs yelp and run around them, pulling at their clothes, sniffing the packs…
Then, without warning, a band of Nez Perce warriors with spears raised, rush the group, threatening to kill them, grabbing for their guns – intensity rises. But, an elder woman of the tribe, Watkuweis, a shaman, comes forward, wielding authority…. She protects the explorers, rattling the animal sculls on her staff and singing a high-pitched trill.
In that moment, not only does the woman see Sacajawea with her eyes – she also sees her heart through a greater vision. Watkuweis touches Sacajawea’s chest and says, “Your spirit is weak…”
We know something about Sacajawea and her people, through her respect for her elders – both for her chief, Cameahwait, and the shaman. As the story goes, Sacajawea had just faced a devastating disappointment and loss that forced her to arrive at this place.
But the shaman already knew Sacajawea was coming, and she had a prophesy for her that would change her life. Though it was cryptic and seemed filled with the unknown in this moment – by the end of the story, the one thing Sacajawea cherished the most, would be protected by it.
Being shown the vision of her own hurting spirit gave Sacajawea determination, as Watkuweis told her, “Your hurt will lead you to another.” The elder woman saw far beyond where Sacajawea was in that moment – and Sacajawea honored the elder by trusting her wisdom without hesitation, despite the darkness of her circumstances.
What would life be like without the darkness?
The darkness gives us depth perception, choice and opportunity.
Without darkness, we could not, nor would not,
appreciate the light.
Be thankful and grateful in all things.
And keep walking…*
These words came from our journey to tell the story of Sacajawea. The depth of her sorrow, the sadness and disappointment formed a great lesson for each of us. She saw through transparent vision, because of her respect for her elders, to carry-on, to be more than what she felt, to look past what her immediate situation was showing her. Therefore, we remember this young Shoshoni girl, and it is one reason we believe, and know, her story WILL be shared, in the perfect timing, with the entire world.
*From the book, “Awakening” the lessons learned from Sacajawea and our journey.