Jefferson had instructed the Corps of Discovery to befriend the Indians, develop trade relations, and collect military and scientific information.
Sacagawea was a great asset in establishing good relations.
William Clark wrote, “A woman with a party of men is a token of peace.” Generally, Native Americans helped the explorers as they traveled in the new land.
They had a good understanding of sweating, emesis, menstruation, and childbirth.
Plants were used to encourage abortion, speed delivery, or prevent pregnancy.
Vivian Kane (she/her) has a lot of opinions about a lot of things.
Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri with her husband Brock Wilbur and too many cats.More than 3,000 pages of original manuscripts, rare books, and contemporary illustrations from the Lewis and Clark expedition can be found in American Journeys.Click the AJ number below to go to the document’s home page where you can begin reading, search its contents, read a background essay about it, and more.The Indians offered food and valuable advice about geography.The Nez Perce, who considered killing the strangers when they first staggered out of the mountains, provided aid at a time when their help was critical to the survival of the expedition members.Their method of removing a retained placenta preceded Crede by a hundred years.The Indians definitely added 59 drugs to our modern pharmacopeia.On the west coast, the Chinooks angered the Corps by stealing, and Clark writes about the need for “the protection of our Stores from thieft.” A tragic interchange occurred in July 1806 only several months before the trip’s end.Lewis, in a political blunder, informed a band of Blackfeet warriors that Americans would give guns to Blackfeet enemies who agreed to a comprehensive peace plan.Similar to the white man’s medicine of the time, the Indians relied on experience and observation rather than strict scientific experiments.The Native Americans practiced bloodletting and purging, induced sweating and vomiting, and mingled their medicine with mysticism and ritual.