There are so many events in my life that don’t make sense in my mind, when it comes to the Windcatcher project. I didn’t realize it at first, I just knew I had to write the story. But when I began to look closer, there had been an uncanny number of circumstances and details guiding and leading me, even before I could listen to them.
The first one was the day I was born. We lived in Richland, Washington, along the Columbia River where the expedition came through in 1805. For some reason, my parents named me Jane (Janie/Janey — This was the name William Clark gave to Sacajawea because he couldn’t pronounce her name). This would not seem unusual, nor would the fact that our dearest family friends were the Brattons, descendants of Private William Bratton a member of the Corps of Discovery.
The years went by and we moved many places, but in 1962 we landed in Portland, Oregon. My best friends in high school, at the time, were Cliff Lewis, John Clark and Jayne Scott (another Jane). We went to Seaside and Cannon Beach (places Sacajawea had been) nearly every weekend. And still, I didn’t think anything about this as it would relate to Sacajawea and her story.
Life went on, many people came in and out of my path who were somehow associated through ancestors with the Lewis and Clark story, the Charbonneaus, Meriwether Lewis…. But in 1987, my husband, kids and I were traveling back to Washington from Indiana (where my husband finished his college). As happened, due to driving the “beautiful,” but rough back roads across Montana, our car broke down in Bozeman.
Now that would seem like tough luck, but we were trapped there in that picturesque, mountainous setting for three days. While we waited for our car to be repaired something very strong captured our attention and made us realize, for some reason, we had to stay. So, we listened to our intuition, and stayed for three years. We found jobs and bought a house.
My husband was a teacher and his class was studying Lewis and Clark. One day we took his students on a field trip to Three Forks, Montana (where Sacajawea was brutally kidnapped from her people in about 1800). I never expected to be so overcome with emotion that day. I just walked the rivers and Fort Rock, making sketches of the plants and watching the eagles above me…
The next Saturday, May 20, 1989, I told my husband I had to go back there, I didn’t know why but I needed to go by myself. He was very supportive of me following my heart. That day, I sat on the cliff looking over the rivers — watching the eagles soar. I was thinking about Sacajawea, and I couldn’t stop the tears welling up in my eyes — when a gentle voice echoed in my soul, “I want you to write my story.”
Up until this point I had never put anything together about my life and this woman of history. I started to write the story as a children’s book, but realized it was not a children’s story. To do her justice and honor her path, she wanted me to tell the hard things so we could see what she had been through and how she survived.
I didn’t exactly know how to proceed, but actually I wasn’t ready in myself to proceed. I put the three chapters away in a box, and in 1990 we moved on to Washington State. It was at this time that I began to walk the steps toward my own Spiritual Awakening. From 1996-2003, I opened to my intuition and listened more closely to my spiritual self.
In 2003, my daughter, Jerah, was going to film school in California. She said to me, “Mom, you should write that book you started into a screenplay.” This was such an incredible revelation and message delivered to me by my daughter.
At this time, I began to notice eagles, hawks and ravens constantly flying over my path. There was an eagle that soared over a neighboring field, always landing on a tall evergreen tree — I could see him from my writing desk. And, a hawk flew back and forth in the same field every day. There was something extremely powerful and inspiring in that…
My heart was truly full with this task I was undertaking. I drew a timeline across the wall and with notecards I taped all the places on the timeline where Sacajawea was mentioned in the journals. It was very little — and I had to somehow find the rest of the story.
One day I was in Barnes and Noble and came across a paperweight. It had a quote engraved around it by Michelangelo, “I saw the angel in the granite and carved until I set him free.” I became emotional right there in the store — it struck deeply. All the experiences in my life that pointed to this woman, started to take shape in my heart. It was a revelation that she was with me, guiding me, truly wanting me to write her story. So, I said to myself and to her, “I feel you. I see you, and I will carve through the mass of history until I find your story through your eyes, and set you free.”
I was determined. It took four years to grasp the essence of her purpose. I had to get out-of-the-way. I had to let go of my inhibitions and stereotypes. I had to get past feeling “unworthy” to tell the story, and be willing to write it with all the joys and with all the pain. I will never completely understand all I had to go through or why, but I know I am a better person for pouring out myself because that is what this journey has required.
There is history. And there is Spirit. And, sometimes telling the story accurately requires opening to a voice from another realm, spending 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness and reconciling to the fact that we don’t know everything.
If I didn’t care, I could have sold this screenplay long ago. But, I do care, for it is a Calling — a leading all my life. It has taken great personal sacrifice, yet I have been fully blessed with the things that matter. If it takes my last breath, I will share, not just the literal history that we know, but “who” she was, and how she felt, and what her precious life was about.
Sacajawea’s overall message for today is powerful…. it is what this world needs to continue. It is a remembering that we are all connected to each other and to Mother Earth. We must each open to this knowing and believe. We must love.
I will never fully understand why I was Called to write the story of this beautiful, Native American woman….and I expect others may not fully understand either. But, one thing I have learned, truth is absolutely not what we think in our minds. The beautiful synergy continues even now as our team comes together around this production — showering us with more mysteries, blessings and miracles. What an amazing path we walk.
In gratitude and thanksgiving,
Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea is proud to welcome Sam Barnett of Pace Dell Anima – Executive Protective Services (PDA) as the director of the project’s top level-security team. Sam has a passion for history, a love for Sacajawea and her story, and he and his team are committed to making sure everyone, while on set and traveling, will be protected and safe.
With over 20 years in the executive protection services industry, Sam offers unparalleled experience in security consulting, personal security risk analysis/management, and logistics. Dedicated to protecting the lives of others, he has created and implemented multi-faceted personal security programs for Fortune 500 company executives, professional sports athletes, Top 40 musicians, entertainment and events. He has also designed and facilitated multiple trainings, including CCW, Close Quarter Combat, defense, and martial arts for private clients, the US Secret Service, and non-profit organizations. In addition to serving six years in the US Army, from which he was honorably discharged, Sam was a member of the Tactical Narcotics Team for the Connecticut State Police.
We are delighted to have Sam Barnett leading such a crucial part of our team! As the months ahead unfold into 2017, we are confident we’re moving closer to the production of this enormous, credible and powerful feature film project. Over this year, we have connected with amazing professionals and companies who see the vision, and it is Sacajawea’s spirit and heart that continues to draw us together.
Please visit our Official Movie Website at: www.WindcatcherTheMovie.com to follow our progress as we continue our quest, yes, our journey of discovery.
Thank you, Rick Clark, for letting us use your amazing painting of Sam Barnett for this article.
What a privilege to work with a professional and inspiring team. Please welcome our Entertainment Attorney, Stefan Feuerherdt.
Stefan Feuerherdt is an experienced multidisciplinary attorney, freelance writer, and legal instructor from the Portland, Oregon area. He is interested in the intersection between the arts and law, and in helping and promoting students and practitioners of both. Feuerherdt works with creative professionals to navigate past legal issues in getting their art to the marketplace.
Attorney Feuerherdt is in the process of creating the company, Windcatcher The Movie, LLC for the Windcatcher production. He is committed to taking this important project to its completion by providing all aspects of legal representation, contract negotiations, film documents, and to assure professional legal protection for the screenplay, copyrights, film rights, budget and all phases of production through post production and the film’s distribution.
With his background in writing and film, he brings a depth of experience to this project that empowers his legal knowledge, establishing a strong foundation at the heart of this epic project.
The Windcatcher production team welcomes Attorney Stefan Feuerherdt. As we move through our development phase and into pre-production, unfold opportunities for young Native Americans who have aspirations for a film career, and kick this project into high gear, we are confident he will guide the legal aspects to help create a production that is solid and credible.
Bringing Sacajawea’s film project home to the Pacific Northwest has opened up many doors as we keep walking toward our goals. People here have a deep passion for this story and this person of history, for it is their history, too. Yesterday I was honored to be a guest on the Seattle radio show, The Jupiter Rising Show, with hosts Meredith Froemke and my dear friend, Eileen Grimes, and Sandra Johnston.
With the cityscape in view through a big picture window I waited for my introduction, contemplating what to say, how to say it, and feeling a little nervous yet excited to share about the journey and this Call on my life to tell her story.
Just like the other times I’ve been asked to talk about Windcatcher, something took over my words — for the vision is clear. I am always grateful for this. I invite you to listen to the interview here, and post your comments and questions. Or, if you are interested in being a part of this epic project through funding, please let us know at: info@WindcatcherEntertainment.com
Thank you Eileen, Sandra and Meredith, it was a wonderfully inspiring time!
It’s a trek that is, at times, nearly as adventurous as the Corps of Discovery. We have always chosen to take the road that leads us to authenticity and accuracy, a strong foundation. And, making sure our lady, Sacajawea, is honored and her story protected to the highest degree.
This film deserves to be an epic production and we continue to make the decisions necessary for that to happen. The Windcatcher team is devoted and passionate to not only Sacajawea and her story, but also to Native languages, cultural preservation, and providing internships for Native young people.
Our team of advisers include Native American and Sacajawea experts, liaisons with the tribes, language experts, Lewis and Clark historians, Foundation officials, authors and scholars. It is a distinguished group of professionals who have been devoted over the years to our efforts. Some have provided powerful recommendations and supporting quotes to stand behind this production.
We are very fortunate to be moving closer to pre-production as we know everyone is excited and eager for this film to soon be on the big screen.
While some have had different ideas over the course of this journey, we have always committed, no matter what, to a unique perspective for this production: to stick to the history we know and rely on culture, tradition and her spirit to capture the rest, and give her a voice. That takes tenacity, it takes the right mix of people and passion, it takes a synergy that is called together in the right timing and the right way. And, we are getting there — we are ready to soar!
Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea is the film of the decade, bringing a raw beauty of the American west with its magnificent epic nature, cascading mountains, treacherous rivers, iconic characters and real adventure. This movie masterpiece will be compared only to Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, and the coming-of-age movie Memoirs of Geisha. The film’s production team will include many Native Americans in key positions. And they’ll be casting authentic Native actors for all indigenous roles, making sure this important history is properly represented.
This inspirational independent film project has attracted the talents of industry professionals including the incredible acting abilities of award-winning actor, Raoul Trujillo. Raoul is best known for his character, Zero Wolf, the Mayan villain in Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson. In the “Windcatcher” film he will be portraying an adapted character of history as a chief of the Hidatsa tribe, White Eagle.
Raoul’s career has spanned over 30 years as an actor, choreographer, director and dancer. He was a soloist with the Nikolais Dance Theatre out of New York City, and toured the world from 1980-1987. He directed and choreographed projects for Native Earth Performing Arts in Toronto, the Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, and he taught at the Aboriginal Dance Project at the Banff Center for the Arts in Canada.
Raoul’s past film projects have included: Black Robe, The New World, Apocalypto, Cowboys & Aliens, Riddick with Van Diesel, and his newest film, Persecuted, among many others. He brings an exciting depth-of-character and vibrant talent to the Windcatcher production.
Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea
The year is 1800, at the headwaters of the Missouri River. BOINAIR, a 12-year-old Shoshone girl celebrates her initiation into womanhood. Her husband is chosen; her future is bright. But, after the ceremony her village is attacked by Hidatsa warriors determined to take women and children. The girl is torn from those she loves and given the Hidatsa name SACAJAWEA, for the spirit of the eagle that leads her.
In early 1803, President THOMAS JEFFERSON commissions his secretary, MERIWETHER LEWIS to lead an expedition to the Pacific Ocean. By June, WILLIAM CLARK joins the Corps of Discovery.
At the same time, Sacajawea, now a Hidatsa slave, is traded for a gun to a brutish French trapper, CHARBONNEAU. Soon, she is pregnant with his son.
By November 1804, the Corps of Discovery arrives at the Hidatsa village searching for an interpreter to negotiate for Shoshone horses to cross the mountains. In this exploration that will birth a nation, Sacajawea sees a way home…
Through horrendous weather, starvation and the constant threat of death the Corps finally reaches the Shoshone village. Sacajawea is reunited with her uncle, CAMEAHWAIT, and her betrothed. But, her joy and the dream of coming home are dashed, when her love will not allow her to stay because she belongs to the white man.
So, in his wisdom, Cameahwait sets a new purpose for his niece. Though devastated and heartsick, Sacajawea accepts what seems an unhappy fate — not yet realizing her true destiny is before her…
The soldiers marvel at their luck, knowing they have horses because of Sacajawea. If only President Jefferson knew the door to his dream of expansion, and the future of a modern world, is now open because of a 16 year old Indian girl.
This is a story that has never been told. It is a powerful, epic drama about an icon of the American west – Sacajawea, the Windcatcher.
Windcatcher Entertainment Production
This journey we are on has taken twists and turns, tested our patience and tenacity, and convinced us that this project, Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea, is much more than any of us had ever imagined.
When I started up this path, I didn’t know what to expect. I only knew, while sitting alone on a plateau in Three Forks, Montana, May 20, 1989, I heard a voice in my ear that said, “I want you to write my story.” It wasn’t a loud voice, more like a thought from somewhere else, but it was not to be ignored. Though I made an attempt to write it as a book at the time, I wasn’t ready spiritually to really begin. In fact, it wasn’t until 2003, when my daughter, Jerah, was heading to California to film school, and she told me to take out that story and write it into a screenplay.
Over the four years it took for me to listen to that spiritual voice, and to create this woman who wanted her story told, I was helped by my daughter, my husband and my script analyst, with ideas, character format, script structure and inspiration, that eventually allowed this story, from a first-time screenwriter, to become a reality in 2007.
The journey has been long, with much sacrifice, and here we are now in November, 2013. In just the last six months, I have truly become aware of the depth and breadth of this project. It is so much more than a movie. In fact, it is so spiritually powerful, we are also producing a documentary, Journey of a Windcatcher, that goes deeper into how this story came to be, how spirit is part of the journey, how lives have unbelievably intersected along the path and how the words of the script miraculously reveal meanings of a Native message that calls us all together through hope and love.
I am overflowing with gratitude for those professionals who have been drawn to these projects. The Windcatcher Team is devoted to the Spirit that is guiding us. We are flying high to incredible heights, passing the clouds, the stars and the sun! Everyone who experiences this trilogy of inspiring projects, will never be the same.
Watch for more announcements very soon, as we move closer to production every day! And, thank you for your devotion to following the path with us — this journey of OUR discovery.
Interview on the Martha Fast Horse Show with Jane L. Fitzpatrick about Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea
Listen to the recent interview with Martha Fast Horse about “Windcatcher” and how the journey has unfolded for Jane L. Fitzpatrick and her remarkable team. Learn about the Spiritual aspects of this story and feel the passion that is part of this incredible production.
Click here for: THE MARTHA FAST HORSE SHOW INTERVIEW
Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea has recently been Selected and Nominated for the BEST PERIOD PIECE Screenplay at the Action On Film International Film Festival. It’s a very exciting time for the Windcatcher team as we move closer to the production of this inspirational and important film.
Watch for updates on this website coming soon!
All around the world, from the four winds, people are unique in their own ways. Their love for their heritage and traditions, and the powerful bonds that bind them together over generations, are the very threads that run through their descendants.
Sacajawea’s story is an important part of the bond that now blends us all together, not only Agai’dika Shoshone people but all Nations and citizens of these United States. Her life is one of tenacity, sorrow, strength and joy and that makes Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea relevant for our time period, and a beacon of hope for us all.
It has always been my deepest motivation to create a story around this legend that brings justice to her voice. She had a voice. She prayed, she cried, she felt the wind in her hair and knew she was not alone even in her pain. This woman stood up for herself and stated her opinion and she was a gentle mother to her child. She is a legend, but she also deserves to be understood and known as flesh and blood.
I will always admit I do not know first-hand what is at the heart of the Native American people. I want to know, but it would be wrong of me to say I do. That is why I have devoted the last 10 years of my life to counsel with her people and other Native Americans, listening to historians, learning about the world at the time she lived, and continuing to bring credible advisers around me — those who truly know.
We are moving closer every day to bringing this story to life. All the players add something unique to the message, and they each understand the vision. We are firm in our quest to create this incredible story as an Independent film. With that, we’re able to include all the contributions and knowledge of so many people, to assure Sacajawea keeps her voice true and genuine.
Thank you all for your inspiration and support for this effort. You are very important to the success of this project and we will continue to enlighten you about each and every rewarding step of the journey.
View our movie profile on IMDb.com at:
The language of the People… “Makes my heart soar like a hawk.”
~ Chief Dan George
The production team for Windcatcher: The Story of Sacajawea is working everyday to make contacts and ultimately bring together those people who will drive this epic film to completion. Powerful passion and energy surround this incredible story. From actors and regalia makers to historians and linguists, we are catching the wind.
Linguistics is one of the most important aspects of the production, since eight languages are spoken throughout the script’s journey. It is our intent to maintain their authenticity, showing the true challenges of communication the group experienced. Shoshone, Nez Perce, Clatsop, Hidatsa, Mandan, French, English and universal sign language are all spoken in this film.
One of the beauties of Windcatcher is the opportunity it provides to share diversity and tradition in the most natural way. The depth of emotion we feel as we connect to their world helps us understand this difficult time period, the indigenous people and the many broad cultures. It helps us relate to the exquisite and unique lives they lived in 1805. We hope it will help Native Americans to have a new awareness and love for their beautiful heritage. We hope it will help all Americans to see this country for what it was, and is, and how much better it can become.
Wado (thank you),
Ten years ago I began this incredible Journey of Discovery. I have tried to bring together like-minded, like-spirited people who share my passion for this woman in our history who means so much, to so many.
The caretakers of this powerful story have realized a great responsibility. While I’ve been careful to keep those people who will cherish and protect it, I also know without a doubt that “she” is selecting, “she” is leading — yes, “she” is calling the right people together who will give life to her journey by keeping history and tradition true.
On two occasions, I met with the Agai’dika Shoshone, Sacajawea’s people. The Shoshone liaison, Leo Ariwite, has been truly wonderful in helping us connect to the right people for authenticity of culture and language. There are also others who have been drawn to the Windcatcher. Historians, linguists, film executives, casting and location professionals, talented musicians, stunt people and special effects experts, directors and actors, and many Native American communities who have been so supportive of our efforts.
Soon we will all come together in perfect harmony, to create an epic film that will literally stir the “heart and soul” of humanity. We need this story; we need to understand as a nation, we need a worthy heroine.
I am so grateful for everyone who has supported this project either professionally, or personally. We are making it happen together with our awesome production team. Thank you so very much.
INT. CHARBONNEAU’S QUARTERS — NIGHT
Wind whistles and sleet chatters outside. Exhausted, Sacajawea struggles to raise her head, screaming in agony. She looks with terror into Otter Woman’s eyes.
Otter Woman throws off the furs covering Sacajawea’s legs. She moves around the bed, propping up her knees on each side. The woman rubs a wolf pelt around the girl’s stomach bringing another contraction. Sacajawea screams.
With determination, Lewis bolts through the door and moves to the bed table. He crushes the rattlesnake rattle with a mortar and pestle then dumps the powder into a cup of water. Otter Woman watches with indignation.
Lewis motions for Otter Woman to help sit Sacajawea up — she drinks the potion.
Sacajawea lies back as the older woman rubs her stomach again with the pelt, round and round until another contraction takes hold. Sacajawea looks with wide eyes at her friend — something is different, she begins to push.
Otter Woman drops the fur to the floor by the bed and points to Lewis, motioning for him to help Sacajawea squat, her legs on either side of the fur.
Another pain. Lewis holds Sacajawea firm as she pushes hard. Otter Woman sits on the floor in front of the girl.
Push, your child comes.
Sacajawea bears down. She pushes with all her might, her head is back, shaking. Steam rises from her sweaty hair, her eyes are clenched.
Lewis’ eyes fill with tears as he watches the girl’s pain. He holds her quivering body close as Otter Woman reaches for the child.
One more push — excruciating, bearing down…
No one breathes, when…
EXT. THE PRAIRIE – NIGHT
A wolf stands poised against the moonlight, his long howl breaks into the silence.
INT. CHARBONNEAU’S QUARTERS – NIGHT
… a small, sweet cry fills the room.
Sacajawea collapses into Lewis’ arms as Otter Woman cuts the cord. The captain lays her on the bed and covers her with furs.
Otter Woman chants as she lifts the crying child — steam rises from his wet body wrapped in the wolf pelt. She turns toward Lewis’ anticipation. The captain’s face is overcome with joy.
… I just keep coming back to these thoughts about gratitude. While this particular holiday leaves a difficult message for the Indigenous people of America, it actually reminds me of how grateful I am to them, the caretakers of this great land. If we all would open our hearts to the wise parables and stories, to the infinite passions of nature and the correlation between Native American beliefs and our Spiritual self, we would realize how important this country’s original heritage truly is to us all.
This Thanksgiving my daughter, Jerah, and I were together. But, my husband and other family members were still in Washington State. While I admit I felt a bit sad, I once again reminded myself of why I am here. I am on a quest. This brave and amazing woman, Sacajawea, is guiding my heart. My sacrifice is nothing compared to what she endured and what all Native Americans have endured.
So, as I look out across the hills of Southern California and reflect on how far we’ve come with this project, I am filled with a sense of gratitude, gratefulness and Thanksgiving. These powerful stories must be told — they will not be forgotten. We must overcome our pain and recognize the real meaning of our existence and the absolute truth about the paths that brought us here.
“It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” ~Edmund Hillary
After writing Windcatcher for four years and pitching it another five, I realized recently that to be fully committed to my dream I had to stretch myself. It meant leaving my family for a time and taking a huge leap of faith.
Now, if you had known me years ago, this “leap” would have been the last thing I would have done. I was a home-body, totally content to plant my garden, cook and clean, and write my stories and poems. I would never have considered taking off on my own to follow my dream.
But, this willingness was a process that started in 1988, and, ironically, it was Sacajawea’s spirit that was calling me even then. We lived in Bozeman, Montana, and one Saturday morning (May 20, 1989), I decided to get in the car and head out to Three Forks at the headwaters of the Missouri River — all alone. Matthew, my husband, was encouraging — I think he liked that I was doing something outside the box. Little did I know that I was about to meet the spirit of this brave woman.
Three Forks was where Sacajawea was kidnapped from her people in about 1800. I had been fascinated with her all my life, but that stretching of myself to connect to her, was the beginning of where I am today.
I’m sitting here now, writing in my rented room near Los Angeles, CA. I have met with the most incredibly talented people — people I never, ever thought I would meet. I’ve had the warmest conversations and opportunities to share how Sacajawea has inspired me and how this story came to be. I know this film will be produced for all to see, around the world, because she will have it no other way. She is pushing me to climb. It truly is not the “mountain” we conquer, but ourselves.
Matthew continues to look at me with encouragement and unceasingly supports my stretching outside the box. His enlightened mind has been a driving force over the last nine years of this project and he just keeps inspiring me.
I guess this post is a little more personal than the others. It’s probably because I miss my family. But, this cause is worthy and my hope is that you will wrap your arms around me because it is, in fact, “we” who will make this happen.
Thank you all so very much.
When I began this journey back in 2003, I had no idea what I was up against, no idea what steps to take to get the movie made after I wrote it, and no idea how long the process would be. But, one thing I did have was a “Vision Board.” Each day I would visualize who would be in the movie; who would direct the movie; who would distribute the movie and when… along with pictures of actors, director and location photographs. I even cut out an Oscar statue from a magazine and glued it in the middle of the board. With all my crazy imaginings, I really had no idea how it was truly going to happen — but I knew I was determined.
There have been ups and downs over the last 9 years, changes and re-writes, contacts that have come and gone, but I could not have hoped for a greater Production Team than the one coming together. The right people with tenacious motivation and open hearts are being attracted by the spirit of Sacajawea. She is drawing them to her and they are heeding the call. I am a step in the process of her story being told and we, together, will continue to complete the journey!
So, what about those actors and director depicted on my vision board? Because it is a very personal board no one will ever know who and what inspired me. But, if any of those people end up actually being a part of this production, I’m afraid it would be such an amazing miracle, I would not be able to contain myself. In fact, I would have to shout to the world how awesome this powerful energy spirit really is.
We are on the brink of amazement and our flower, Sacajawea, has started to bloom.
There are only a few things we really know about Sacajawea; and certainly many more things we do not know. The journals of the Lewis & Clark Expedition mentioned this young woman and child only about a dozen times. One might think it was because she was unimportant, but I believe quite the contrary.
Think about it… In a day and age when women, let alone Indian women, were thought of as lower than men, it is actually quite extraordinary that these white men noted her contributions at all. But, by doing so they unknowingly gave us a glimpse into her life that was enough to keep us connected, even 200 years later.
In the four years it took me to write this screenplay, I became very close to this character. It was not easy to allow myself to make even an educated assumption about “who she was,” based on the journals, Shoshone tradition and the time period. But, when I crossed over the barricade of my own fears and got “my world” out-of-the-way… she was there waiting.
I believe this strong and heroic woman wishes to be known. She has a message to bring to us all and though her life was difficult and painful, she pressed on. I am so grateful to the men of the Lewis & Clark Expedition who took the time to look past their own world, tipped their pens into the ink and wrote those words. Otherwise, we may never have known this example of a mother, a role model and a woman who broke the barriers and shared herself.
This is a very exciting and rewarding project and we are committed to maintaining authenticity, cultural respect and the total impact this story brings. Though this film takes place in the 1800s, it truly has a message for all time.
“For generations we have heard of this brave woman and how she was included in the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific, but, to actually put a face, a character, a heart, a personality, a soul to her is, I believe, a great responsibility and must be created carefully and with accuracy because this is the person we will all remember going forward.” ~Jane L. Fitzpatrick
There are two very prominent Native American women in our country’s history. Pocahontas has been in the spotlight many times. We have seen her depicted in biographies, movies, children’s animated films — her life has been shared over and over again. We have formed an understanding of who she was, what she did and how she lived.
But, the other prominent Native American woman, Sacajawea, is a mystery. There are a few lines about her in history books as she relates to the Corps of Discovery. We know her name, yet it is controversial. We know how long she lived, yet it is controversial. We know she was Shoshone, yet it is controversial… It is hard to know what to share because so many opinions and traditions dance around her existence.
But, what we do know is that from a young age this girl suffered greatly when she was ripped from her family and tossed into a different culture of people and a world with white men. Who would have ever thought this stolen child would be given an opportunity to contribute to the birth of a Nation?
Sacajawea deserves to be recognized and honored. If we look deeply, there are many things that are not controversial at all. She became a strong woman and survived horrendous experiences; she was a devoted mother who cared for her young son and later her daughter; she respected the earth and its riches and knew what would sustain her; she had a betrothed but was forced to have a child with an abusive Frenchman. In addition, she was highly respected by the soldiers and written about in the Lewis and Clark journals, and she was a warrior for peace along the trail.
With the documented history and thrilling adventure of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, we have created an intriguing backdrop for the character of Sacajawea based on what we know, based on the traditions of her people and other tribes, and based on the time period. But, the greatest element of this story that is evident in the telling, is Sacajawea’s own Spirit and her willingness to share it with us.
Thank you for joining the journey,