What is the Correct Pronunciation for Sacagawea?

8/13/2013 • Ask Mr. History

A while back I watched a show on PBS about Sacagawea. There were many Native American "experts" and I noticed that some of them pronounced her name differently from some of the others. Phonetically some said Sack A Ja We A, which is the way I was taught to say her name. Others called her Sa Cog A We A. Which is the correct pronunciation?



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Dear Joseph,

The Hidatsa term for “bird woman” was originally pronounced “Tsakaka-wea.” Lewis and Clark refer to their Shoshone guide as “Sacagawea” 17 times in their journal. These two factors suggest that “Sacagawea” is closest to the original pronunciation. So naturalyl most people now mispronounce it as “Sacajawea.”



Jon Guttman
Research Director
World History Group
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