By: CHRISSY BOHLMANN
Ten Girl Scout Brownies anxiously waited in the front row.
A young girl repetitiously asked, “How long until it starts?” It was the ‘Sacagawea and the Lewis and Clark Expedition’ performance, February 9th.
Dr. Selene Phillips enchanted the audience as she described the conditions, dangers and encounters that occurred during the famous expedition. She wore a mute green traditional dress, long braids and many beads to help personify the historical figure Sacagawea.
The “Sacagawea and the Lewis and Clark Expedition” was performed in IU South Bend’s Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall. Phillips, who earned a doctorate in American studies, concentrating in Native American studies, is also a member of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe Nation.
“There were many dangers on that trip but also fun. The men would drink grog around the fire and danced and laughed,” Phillips said.
She described all the new things Sacagawea saw on the expedition, such as the ocean and the carcass of a whale. Phillips also said that the story is sometimes told incorrectly, omitting the arguments and disagreements between Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark.
When she finished her tale, she took questions first as Sacagawea, then as Dr. Phillips and encouraged the audience to even ask the same questions for both individuals. She said this was because a scholar of Sacagawea would answer differently than Sacagawea herself.
Phillips described how Sacagawea was taken from the Shoshone tribe at a young age.
“How were you taken from your tribe?” a woman from the audience asked. “They [the Hidatsa tribe] came one day. I was with a group of friends. They were young like me. There were men on horses, and they grabbed us,” Phillips answered as Sacagawea.
“Children’s books suggest that Sacagawea looks up to Lewis and Clark, and that Charbonneau is a buffoon,” said Phillips. “But the Lewis and Clark diaries are saying that the first thing Charbonneau grabs [when the expedition is endangered by a flood] is Sacagawea. The first thing Clark grabs is his gun.”