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 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 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.

Red Dress Day – Let us Never Forget!

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When Sacajawea was just 12 years old she was kidnapped from her family. She experienced abuse at a young age, as a slave – and then, she was forced to become the “woman” of an old French fur trader. Sacajawea had his son when she was 16! What are the chances we would remember a little Shoshoni girl today? How has she infiltrated our world and shown her Spirit in so many ways for generations?

Sacajawea’s time is NOW – and her story is for all people of the earth. Her spirit is strong, her energy ignites us for a cause, her destiny will be fulfilled when her story is told. She comes like the wind and nothing will ever be the same.

On this Red Dress Day, we remember all the Indigenous women who have gone missing or murdered. Let us wear red in their memory, and in the memory of Sacajawea. It is her “LIFE” we honor today and all the women of the world.

ONWARD, we Believe!
Jane

The Magic!

Good morning! I am so blessed with wonder at the way love works and how its energy is unstoppable. There are many things we don’t understand in life, we get so caught up in our literal walk that, at times, we miss the magic. There was a day in February, that was a powerful reminder of how Spirit works, and how, if we are watching and expecting the miracle, we realize it is already there for us.

The forecast was a major snowstorm, up and down the western coast from California to Canada. But, everything was in place for shooting the teaser reel for “Sacajawea, The Windcatcher.” (So much goes into arranging and setting up a shoot, even for a 2-minute teaser. From insurance to actors, to locations to crew – it is an enormous feat.) Yet, the forecast for the next day was the worst winter storm of the season. What to do?

20190622_091346.jpgThat evening, as we looked out to the Great Water, we saw a cloud formation of a woman in a hooded coat reaching her hands across the sky, and on the opposing side, we saw another figure reaching back. We remembered, at that moment, even if we weren’t sure in our minds, to look for the miracle, and we saw the message… “Do not give up!”

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We gathered at the beach the next morning. It was cold and windy, but not snowing yet! We didn’t know what was ahead. In Faith, we had to choose to BELIEVE and keep going. Which is exactly what we did…

And, later, what we learned was that the snowstorm hit the entire coastline, except for one hole in the clouds right over Fort Stevens State Park in Oregon, our location. That is the power, the energy, the vibration, the light and the dark that has always been at work with this Sacajawea project – and that is what drives us to our dream.

The message – A shell, smoothed and softened by the ocean waves and sand… As life, we are all formed into a beautiful work of art – indeed, it is her journey, and ours.

At this time the teaser is not open to the general public, but you can view it through the “Sacajawea Private Screening” group on Facebook. If you are not a member, please join the group at: https://lnkd.in/gSdt_4S (requires a facebook profile). You will not be able to share the video, so please invite your friends to join us, too.

If you want more information about the Sacajawea project, please contact us HERE. Thank you!

ONWARD!
Jane

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SACAJAWEA, The Windcatcher – a Feature Film Production