Another tour recommendation sent us on a drive to the north to check out Pompey’s Pillar National Monument, using our Golden Age Pass again. Here we learned the geology and history of the area and of William Lewis of Lewis & Clark, and of the influence of Sacajawea.
Sacagawea was kidnapped at 12 yrs old by Hidatsa Indians & taken from her Shoshone tribe’s home in the Rocky Mtns to a village on the upper Missouri. She & another captive girl were purchased as wives by Toussaint Carbonneau, a French Canadian trapper, and eventually reunited with the Shoshone Indians.
In 1804 Sacagawea & Carbonneau joined the Corps of Discovery. Her knowledge of Shoshone & Hidatsa languages helped the explorers communicate & establish trusting relationships with American Indians. She was perceived as a symbol of peace, traveling with these men, as an interpreter and guide for Lewis & Clark in 1805-1806 along with her husband.
She navigated while carrying her son, Jean Baptiste (given the nickname Pompy – “Little Chief” by William Lewis). She traveled thousand of miles from the Dakotas to the Pacific Ocean. The explorers said she was cheerful, never complained and proved to be invaluable. She served as an advisor, caretaker and is legendary for her perseverance and resourcefulness.
Clark wrote in 1805 “The sight of this Indian woman confirmed those people of our friendly intentions, as no woman ever accompanies a war party of Indians in this quarter”.
Pompey’s Pillar is a massive sandstone outcrop that rises 150’ from a two acre base on the banks of the Yellowstone River. This monument’s premier location at a natural ford in the Yellowstone River, and its geologic distinction as the area’s only major sandstone formation on the south side of the river, have made Pompey’s Pillar a celebrated landmark and outstanding observation point for more than 11,000 years.
Hundreds of markings, petroglyphs and inscriptions left by visitors have left this geologic phenomenon into a living journal of the American West. The Crow People called it “Where the Mountain Lion Lies”; and it was a productive hunting area for buffalo and small game.
After viewing Pompey’s Pillar, we drove to Billings, to the Elks Lodge for lunch. It is a very large lodge that is supported by their very active Racquet Club (Tennis). The area surrounding Billings consists of miles of sandstone cliffs, and the Elks lodge pin depicts these famous cliffs. At last there were no more T-storms, it was clear and hot evening.