Sacajawea’s Tribe Seeks Recognition

PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State University professor is helping a Native
American tribe establish an official identity. Almost two hundred years have passed since
Sacajawea first joined Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, and yet the Lemhi, who are also
known as Sacajawea’s people, still seek to restore federal recognition as a distinct tribe.
In 1995, under the auspices of the Idaho Legal Aid Services, the Lemhi people formed the
Fort Lemhi Indian Community, Inc., and obtained a $65,000 grant from the Administration of
Native Americans to put together a petition to restore federal recognition from the Bureau of
Indian Affairs. Under this grant, WSU History Professor Orlan Svingen was retained to construct
the history of the Lemhi people, a project that has been the focus of his graduate seminar in
public history.
On May 4, 1999, the Lemhi will send Rod Ariwite, head of the Lemhi community, to the
White House Sacajawea coin reception ceremony, where he will be welcomed along with other
federally recognized tribes by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Robert
Rubin. Ariwite will hand carry a letter to the First Lady requesting that the Lemhi receive federal
recognition and return to their ancestral homelands. For more information, contact Rod Ariwite,
208/236-4676 or Orlan Svingen, 509/335-5205.