“Historians know neither how to spell nor pronounce her name, and have conflicting accounts of her birth, parentage, early life, the circumstances of her marriage, her life after the expedition, her children, the circumstances of her death, and the whereabouts of her remains.

“Debra Magpie Earling has written a raw-edged account of what might have been in the mind of Sacajewea, a seventeen-year-old pregnant slave (and wife) of Toussaint Charbonneau in the years 1804-05 on the Missouri River.”

Missoula Art Museum

 

The idea for this book originated with an exhibition at the Missoula Art Museum entitled Native Perspectives on the Trail: A Contemporary American Indian Art Portfolio, held to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition with the Shoshone guide called Sacajewea. The author and poet Debra Magpie Earling was one of the fifteen Native American artists contributing to the exhibition.

Artist Peter Koch saw the work and met the author. He proposed a collaboration to make the poem into an artist’s book and in 2010 the project was complete. The book itself, with its poetic reinvention of the life of the Shoshone guide and with the haunting sepia-toned photographs chosen by Peter Koch, became the subject of another exhibition at the same museum called The Lost Journals of Sacajawea: Debra Magpie Earling with Photo-Interventions by Peter Rutledge Koch, which ran from September to December in 2011.

Debra Magpie Earling is a member of the Salish and Kootenai tribes of the Flathead Reservation, and is an associate professor of English at the University of Montana. For her first novel Perma Red she won the Western Writers Association Spur Award for the Best Novel of the West in 2003, the Mountain and Plains Bookseller Association Award, the WILLA Literary Award, and an American Book Award. In 2008 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

This important book was printed at Peter Koch, Printers and was bound there by Jonathan Gerken with empty shell casings and trade beads and with smoked buffalo rawhide paper made by hand at Cave Papers in Minneapolis. The typeface is historic Fell chosen because it leaves an indistinct image reminiscent of its use in the Eighteenth Century. The book is printed on Da Vinci from Twin Rocker paper. The photographs were collected by Peter Koch and processed for this publication by Donald Farnsworth at Magnolia Editions on Kozo handmade paper.

This edition is limited to sixty-five copies each signed by the author and the artist.

 

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© 2018 Boreas Fine Art