Sacajawea Interpretive Center

On May 14, 1804, the Lewis and Clark Expedition left Camp Dubois (Illinois) and headed west into half a continent of land largely unmapped and unknown to people of the United States and Europe. As the Corps of Discovery set out, no one realized the journey ahead would cover more than 7,500 miles and last almost two and half years.

On October 16, 1805, the expedition arrived at the Sacajawea Interpretive Centerconfluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers, the site of today's Sacajawea State Park. They camped here for two nights, hunting, repairing equipment, and meeting some 200 Sahaptin-speaking Indians in the area.

The Sacajawea State Park and Interpretive Center features the Lewis and Clark Room which tells the remarkable story of these early explorers. The exhibits highlight their activities at this site and the role of their interpreter, Sacagawea.

Pronunciation of the Name
Recent scholarly research and extensive study of the original journals indicate that both the preferred spelling and pronunciation of the Shoshoni woman's name are with a "g." Because the park has been known as Sacajawea for many decades, the "j" spelling is retained. Elsewhere in brochures, exhibits, and programs, the "g" is used - Sacagawea.

This young woman's role was not that of the guide of legend, but that of a hardworking member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Sacagawea was a food-gatherer, interpreter, and along the Snake and Columbia rivers, a symbol of peace and friendship between the expedition and the Native Americans.

The Jay Perry Room of Indian Artifacts
This room contains outstanding stone and bone tools from the Columbia Basin Plateau. The tools were made by Sahaptin and Cayuse speaking natives living along the Columbia, Snake, Palouse, and Walla Walla rivers. They date in age from 200 to 12,000 years.

Interpretive displays show how the tools and implements were made and used. They also explain how the artifacts reflect the culture and the individual personalities of their creators.

Jay Perry of Kennewick, Washington, was largely responsible for the excellent collection of artifacts at the center. For five decades, Jay worked tirelessly to build and preserve this collection of local prehistory. He donated thousands of his own artifacts and arranged for the donation of many other collections.

Admission into the center is free, but a $1 donation is suggested.

Sacajawea State Park
Sacajawea State Park is a 284-acre marine / day-use park at the confluence of the Snake and Columbia rivers. It features 9,100 feet of freshwater shoreline. The area is spread out with a big sky and excellent views of the two rivers as they flow together.