Leo T. Ariwite, Sacajawea Descendant, Joins the Sacajawea Film as Associate Producer

Captain William Clark wrote this to Sacajawea’s husband, Toussaint Charbonneau, in 1806:

“[Y]our woman who accompanied you that long dangerous and fatigueing rout to the Pacific Ocian and back diserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that 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

Leo T. Ariwite, Shoshoni Liaison 2019

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
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!

Let Us Shift toward Greatness

Eyes of Sacajawea redA brief moment of history had a powerful effect on a New Age, as a group of individuals, the Corps of Discovery, successfully accomplished something together despite their differences. They were soldiers and traders with diverse backgrounds, a black slave who was virtually free on the trek, and a brave, strong warrior woman who endured over 4000 miles with a child on her back. We are still moved and affected by the choices they made together.

Sacajawea, despite her disappointment and sorrow, brought meaning to the group. She was purposeful and determined, knowledgeable and respectful. She was unselfish, yet she had a mind-of-her-own and was not afraid to speak it. Sacajawea did not know then, but she was walking toward a new paradigm for the world…

As a kidnapped Shoshoni girl, a very young mother, Sacajawea had made enormous adjustments and shifts in her personal life up to this point. But she could not have predicted the future, the disillusionment and abuse of Native Americans. And, as the explorers endured this harrowing journey, they had no idea they were on the brink of wider racism, slavery and isolation of a people. A paradigm shift toward the hardening hearts of Humanity.

As with the Universe and all of life, paradigm shifts are moved by positive and negative energy, good and evil forces, light and dark. Humanity plays a key role in how civilizations live and act with each other through time. It is the power of choice that establishes social changes for generations. These choices manipulate and motivate the decisions that define an Era – and not always for the good.

In our time, we are living through unbelievable sickness and death, insufferable economic hardship and intolerable racism. We can be assured the choices we make now, are a pivotal part of our collective journey, vital for Humanity going forward.

We have a great opportunity and purpose to change the conversations of the past, to shine a light on injustice and racism, to stand as One People for All People. What we do now will absolutely set a new and powerful paradigm shift.

It is our time to choose the way ahead, and part of the way is to tell the story of Sacajawea with her life-changing message of Oneness, Peace and Love for Humanity and the Earth. We are privileged to live at this exciting time – indeed, a time of Awakening. Let us press onward to a vision of Truth on the very path Sacajawea and many others were willing to walk – through the darkness, yet always stepping toward the Light.

ONWARD!

Jane

– Digital Art by Marcia K. Moore, Concept Artist

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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Higher Ground

Night great water

Boinair (Sacajawea) faced many hardships in her life. Though we have spoken of them before in this blog, we want to look at her life in a different way. It is 1800, in the early morning hours of a dark, sad day. Boinair has been stolen away from those she loves.

20191029_101115When she awakens, she finds her wrists and ankles are bound, and she is tied to a tree. Young women and children sob and cry around her, they are hungry and hurting both inside and out. Through yesterday’s chaos, Boinair remembers catching sight of her mother and grandmother, and wonders if she will ever see them again… Her world has turned dark, and she can only think of one thing – how to escape!

Thoughts for today…

“If Sacajawea’s life had been easy, we may never have seen her spirit revealed to us in our time. She may never have become the icon she is today, to the children’s children of the world.”

If she had grown up on the prairie and the mountains, married her betrothed, had children and lived happily-ever-after, we most likely would never have heard her name – and her existence would have been lost in time.

Saca chief wonderingIronically, it is the darkness around her that made us aware of her light. She was stolen away – and in that terrible moment, our story began…

 

Sacajawea’s trials and tribulations opened doors that she never imaged existed. She knew her Spirit was unstoppable because she was able to recognize a powerful path through the darkness by Being the light, and that is a divine trait.

She was strong to stand her ground, and even though she was a Native American woman in 1805, with all the injustice and prejudice around her, she refused to succumb to it. Sacajawea was “awake and aware.” Her ego did not guide her, for she knew she had a higher calling, from a higher Being, and there was a higher ground to walk.

It is a choice we make when we see something greater in ourselves and in humanity. Though, like Sacajawea’s life, our world seems chaotic at the moment. But, nothing is more powerful than our own choice to change it.

~ Spirit Wind

Let us each be a Symbol of Peace for the world.

Sacajawea symbol of peaceThe spelling (and meaning) of Sacajawea’s name is controversial. In honoring her Shoshoni people we have written her name with a “j” (Sacajawea) in the screenplay, SACAJAWEA, The Windcatcher, because the story is through her eyes.

Historians record, through the Lewis & Clark journals and some Hidatsa people, that the spelling is with a “g” (Sacagawea meaning “Bird Woman” in Hidatsa). And, there are other spellings of her name, as well (like Sakakawea).

We believe our mission is to bring people together around the person of Sacaj(g)wea. It is our passion to celebrate her life. Therefore, we have created a spearhead that we hope becomes a “Symbol of Peace.” Using the medicine wheel (representing all races) for the bowl of the “g” and red feathers for the “j” (representing the vermillion Sacajawea wore for peace and “women warriors,” who struggle around the world) we have created a powerful, unifying symbol that embraces us all.

The words of Sacajawea’s story compel us to open our hearts, enhanced by the magnificent artwork, by Marcia K Moore, and the meaningful and creative design of the red feather, by Shawna Neece Fitzpatrick. This dynamic symbol of the “g-j” represents a collaboration of women and we believe it will ignite Sacajawea’s spiritual purpose to soar as a whirlwind around the world.

I remember my vision from when I was a young girl –

From Sacajawea, The Windcatcher – A Novel by Jane L. Fitzpatrick

Sacajawea shell

“I saw myself sitting on a narrow strip of land that seemed to never end, weaving along the edge of the sea. Water crashed and climbed over the sand, again and again, creeping up higher toward me.

A mist hung in the sky and there was no definition between it and the earth. It danced with foggy shades of blue, red and gold. The sound was like the rhythm of wind and rain pounding, crashing through a forest, yet, there were no trees. White birds cried with shrill voices, climbing and diving in freedom, transparent in their existence…

An Elder of my people was with me – though I had never seen him before. We sat together by a roaring fire. He took two diamond-shaped shells from his pouch and gave them to me. I followed his caring eyes and I will never forget his words. He told me, ‘These shells were tossed back and forth for ages in the great sea. The sand and rolling waves made the edges smooth and easy to carve into these shapes. You are like the shell, young one. Remember this, for it is part of your journey.’

I believe in visions. I believe they can mirror our path, but I do not know how. I breathe deeply and my heart begins to pound. I lick the shell and taste the salt… a mystery. There is a remembering, like I know something in my soul, yes, something to come.”

Hope, Faith, Belief in the Path…

Sometimes we get discouraged, we look at others who seem to be getting all the breaks of success. But, most people who reach their dreams have faced “the hard” along the way. The explorers of the Lewis and Clark Expedition were no different…

As Sacajawea and the explorers canoed down the Columbia River, they were exhausted and discouraged. But, hope revived when they began to see driftwood float passed their canoes, despite the piercing wind and pounding rain. The choppy current was strong, forcing them to shore…. a shore that had no bank.

Dismal Nitch

The only thing they could do was climb to the top of a huge pile of gnarly driftwood stuck in the bushes. It bobbed and shifted under them. They tied their canoes and baggage around the edge and that was where they ate and slept. Day after day, night after night – cold and wet in that dismal place. That is why Captain Clark named it “Dismal Nitch.”

But, then, the storm passed and they were finally able to move on. Edging the shoreline they worked their way in the rough water to a high cliff jutting out into the river’s mouth. Climbing up loose dirt, brush and rocks, they struggled to reach the top. The salt air and seagulls gave them hope for a view of the Great Water…

Cape Disappointment

 

But, it was not yet to be, for all they could see was a thick wall of fog. Yes, they were disappointed, they had come so far. And, the name of that place mirrored their feelings, “Cape Disappointment.”

Like those hopeful explorers, we are also called to walk a journey with unflinching faith – to believe in things unseen. We’ve been hurt and we’ve had difficult choices to make, sometimes blindly. But those who are “called” to something life-changing, must be willing to go to the edge. It is not for the faint of heart.

Sacajawea has many things to teach us from her incredible, adventurous path.

Power in Diversity

Scene Description from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher:  As the story of Sacajawea unfolds across this harrowing trek, we get to know the characters. Their spirits and energies move together with surprising unity, despite the circumstances. They are an uncommon and diverse group considering it is 1805, when African Americans and Native Americans are treated as slaves and many of the soldiers are of “mixed blood.” Yet, there is something compelling about this snapshot-in-time and the adventure they find themselves in, together.

Explorers and Native Americans

Instead of focusing on a particular scene, we are embracing the relationship between three unlikely counterparts: Sacajawea, Captain Clark and Clark’s black slave, York. Life’s journey for Sacajawea and York mirror one another as they know what it is like to be abused, sold or traded at a white man’s whim. In their diversity, their relationship is powerful because they have seen much pain, yet they are both compassionate and caring to all, no matter what their race or status.

Sacajawea is a peacemaker and a guide. By finding wild foods and medicinal plants, she cares for them all. Clark is Sacajawea’s protector on several occasions, and York helps her in many ways, especially with her child. York is also Captain Clark’s protector, and Clark trusts him, maybe for the first time in his life, to carry a gun and scout alone to assure the safety of the group. There is great respect between them all and we see it play out even past the end of the journey…

We can learn much from the Corps of Discovery. Certainly, the literal lessons of survival and pursuit, driven by a will to live and the courage to make it over the ominous mountains. But, the character snapshot captured in the Sacajawea film, has so many more implications to who we are as Spiritual Beings.

If this small group of diverse individuals can move beyond their prejudice and ignorance of the time period, even for just a little while, and come together for incredible success, then we absolutely know acceptance of diversity has the power to change the world.

It is our fervent hope that those watching this majestic film one day, will embrace something that goes beyond the literal, something that is not defined by the frail mind of opinion and judgment. But, instead, that we all will recognize the infinite vibration and energy that is already here, waiting for us to AWAKEN, calling for us to come together. Indeed, believing in who we really are and showing us the way – if we will just embrace it and listen.

“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Wonders of Spirit, the Wonders of Life

Scene Description from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher: 
It’s January 1806 — the explorers will soon leave the Great Northwest. But, they must make one last trek to the beach where a massive whale has washed ashore, hoping to retrieve blubber for fuel. The night before, Sacajawea is adamant she must be allowed to finally see the ocean after coming so far on the journey. She proclaims with passion, “It would be too hard not to see the Great Water and now the big fish…” Captain Clark agrees. As they traverse the 1000 foot high Tillamook Head, a massive basalt lava flow connecting one beach to the other, the girl is awed with Creator’s wonders. Though she does not know just how important this very trail is to her total Being…

As history records, Tillamook Head is a massive volcanic lava flow that traveled down the Columbia River 15 million years ago. It came to rest along a beach of the Great Water, south of the mouth of the river.

Williams Clark’s journal tells us that Sacajawea hiked with him and a small group of explorers over this high rock to Cannon Beach, where the “Big Fish” washed ashore.

In the screenplay, as Sacajawea reaches the top of this 1000 foot high trek, she stands in awe of the infinite beauty. It is here she remembers the wisdom from her uncle (brother), “Boinair, your spirit is not bound, it is free.”

windcatcher
Near Tillamook Head and Cannon Beach, Oregon

While researching Tillamook Head, the most amazing revelation captured us and affirmed Creator’s Spirit in all things for Sacajawea… spiritually and historically, without time or space. For what we learned was the basaltic lava flow that traveled down the Columbia millions of years ago, came to the same spot where Sacajawea was to be in 1806.

The absolute miracle is that this lava originated in Idaho, Sacajawea’s home! As she carried out her ultimate purpose to pray at the Great Water, spirit surrounded her with an energy source that touched her very core – it was the energy from her People and home, right under her feet, that flowed through the basalt rock she traversed.

Though Sacajawea did not know the geology, she did recognize the power, because she was taught to listen to her intuition and use the energy that was drawn around her life through the Infinite Wonders of Spirit.

ONWARD!
Spirit Wind

~ Descriptions and content from Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, are protected under a copyright from the U.S. Copyright Office and the Writer’s Guild of America/west.

Awakening from “Lewis & Clark”

Your woman who accompanied you [on] that long, dangerous and fatiguing route to the Pacific Ocean and back deserved a greater reward for her attention and services on that route than we had in our power to give her.”    

 ~ Captain William Clark

At a time when Indigenous women were not respected by many people, and their voices were not heard, how could this Shoshoni girl even be remembered? Yet, William Clark awakened to something greater in Sacajawea, according to his words.

People have tried to marginalize Sacajawea’s involvement on the Lewis & Clark Expedition by making her seem inconsequential. While others have glorified her as a  “Guide to the Pacific,” when she had never actually been across the great mountains.

Sacajawea was a guide, but not in the sense many want to portray…

nothing stops love

Most of the explorers of the Lewis & Clark Expedition could only understand their literal world. But, Spirit was at work in a mysterious way – leading, guiding, protecting, answering prayers, moving them onward toward an infinite quest.

Despite the fear of certain danger, the explorers were ordered to encounter Native People, and record their traditions, cultures and languages… Not knowing Sacajawea believed they would be safe because, in faith, she wore the paint of her People that told other tribes they had come in peace.

And, even though they had no idea where to go, they were ordered to map the waterways and land to create a trade route to the Pacific… Not knowing Sacajawea, through her Indigenous wisdom, prayed for them on the smoke to the Great Father so they would find the way.

Through great uncertainty, they were desperate to find the Shoshoni village and trade for horses to cross the nearly impassable mountains… Not knowing, after being kidnapped, Sacajawea had been living her prayers for four years – that the Great Father would guide her home.

They were there as soldiers, on the path to western expansion… Not knowing Sacajawea’s innate acceptance of a Call toward her greater destiny was at work – a destiny we now know, was for today.

At the time of her physical life, Sacajawea became a Light for Lewis and Clark. This diverse group of men did not know their exploration would open a very dark time for Indigenous people in America. And, no other soul in all of history stood on the edge of that darkness – but a young woman, Sacajawea, with her face toward the Light.

Indeed, she was a guide… and from that empowering historical moment, her flame has flickered in the Spirit winds. We have witnessed her brilliance in such mysterious ways. We have been awakened by truly magical signs and undeniable wonders.

And, what we have come to know, it was Sacajawea’s belief in things unseen, through time and space, taught by her People and guided by the Great Spirit, that called her from that journey so long ago, to Now. She accepted her Calling and her Destiny, for she saw beyond her own hurt to embrace and share a message of Oneness and true Love with the world.

Sacajawea, The Windcatcher,
is an Awakening!

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