Fort Washakie is located on the Shoshone Wind River Reservation northeast of Rock Springs. The drive took us via Hwy 191 and 28 approximately 140 miles. We drove through the town of South Pass, once a gold mining boom town.
|South City Mercantile|
|Red Mountains- Notice Forest Fires in Background|
The fort was originally named Camp Brown, but later renamed in honor of Chief Washakie leader of the Shoshone. It was a military post until 1909 and is now the headquarters of the US Indian Service on the reservation. There are no markers and remaining buildings are used for Indian offices and homes.
While in the area we visited the Washakie Cemetery and the grave of Chief Washakie and the Sacajawea Cemetery that has the grave of Sacajawea.
It is here that the real story of Sacajawea gets complicated in that the gravestone and markers indicate that she died in 1884 and not 1812. There are several gravestones next to hers belonging to her adopted son Bazil(nephew) and Jean Baptiste Charbonneau as well as a granddaughter by Bazil.She also supposedly had a daughter Lizette who died at a very young age.
|Graves of Sacajawea,Bazil and Baptiste|
|Statue of Sacajawea|
After the expedition she traveled to St Louis with Charbonneau and Baptiste where William Clark adopted Baptiste. At some point in her life she traveled back to the Shoshone reservation at Wind River where she died of old age. It is believed that Charbonneau had two wives and that it was not Sacajawea,but his other wife that died in 1812.
She proved to be a valuable interpreter and guide for the Lewis and Clark expedition due to her extensive knowledge of the Shoshone land.
Chief Washakie was born in 1808 and died in 1900. He was a fierce warrior, a skilled negotiator, leader of the Shoshone and friend to the white man. With the signing of the Fort Bridger Treaty in 1869, he chose as his home the Warm Valley nestled against the Wind River Mountains.
In time, the 44 million acres of Shoshone land dwindled to 2 million due to the white settlers taking over the land and the treaty not being enforced. Many of the Shoshone died of starvation and disease.
|Statue of Chief Washakie at Wyoming Capital|
|Grave of Chief Washakie|
The reservation today is indicative of poverty and disrepair. The cemeteries badly kept.