By Lowell & Kaye Christie, F47246
Two hundred years ago, President Thomas Jefferson commissioned Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase territory. To recognize the importance of the expedition, an elaborate bicentennial to commemorate the journey is under way that will follow the adventurers’ route as closely as possible. The celebration began in January 2003 on the grounds of Jefferson’s home, Monticello, in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the final event will take place in St. Louis, Missouri, in September 2006.
The following “signature events” are listed in order based upon the time Lewis and Clark arrived at the sites 200 years ago; thus, there is a bit of a loop in the entries. The schedule for one of the signature events, Among the Nez Perce, June 14 through 17, 2006, in Lapwai, Idaho, has not yet been released, so it does not appear in the listing. For general information about the bicentennial, visit the National Council of the Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Web site at www.lewisandclark200.org; call (888) 999-1803; write to P.O. Box 11940, St. Louis, MO 63112-0040; or send an e-mail to [email protected]. Web sites for the individual signature events also are included for those who would like to learn more.
1. Falls of the Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, and Clarksville, Indiana
It was at the Falls of the Ohio that Lewis and Clark formed their famous partnership, recruited and enlisted men in the “Corps of Discovery,” and departed on October 26, 1803. The annual Lewis and Clark River Festival will be part of the bicentennial, which will include participation by the Shawnee Nation United Remnant Band of Ohio; historical reenactments; exhibits; cultural events; and educational activities. Dates: October 14 through 26, 2003. Web site: www.fallsoftheohio.org/lewisandclark.shtml.
2. Three Flags Ceremony, St. Louis, Missouri
The Three Flags Ceremony will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the transfer of the Louisiana Territory from Spain to France and then to the United States. Invited guests will include the king of Spain; the president of France; the president of the United States; the governors of all the states created out of the Louisiana Purchase territory; and the heads of tribal governments whose homelands were affected. Dates: March 12 through 14, 2004. Web site: http://louisianapurchase.umsl.edu.
3. Expedition’s Departure: Camp River Dubois, Hartford and Wood River, Illinois
On May 14, 2004, the communities of Hartford and Wood River will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Corps of Discovery’s final departure from its winter encampment at Camp River DuBois. On this day, expedition re-enactors will leave their winter quarters, board their boats, and head for the mouth of the Missouri River to begin their journey west. The public is invited to visit the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center and a replica of Camp River DuBois; to participate in the departure’s reenactment ceremony; and to enjoy musical and dramatic entertainment, and period craft and skill demonstrations. Dates: May 13 through 16, 2004. Web site: www.lewisandclarkillinois.org.
4. St. Charles “” Preparations Complete, the Expedition Faces West, St. Charles, Missouri
The 25th annual Lewis and Clark Heritage Days Festival begins on May 14, 2004. St. Charles, Missouri, is where William Clark awaited the arrival of Captain Lewis from St. Louis. Replicas of the Corps of Discovery’s keelboat and pirogues will be on display, and crew members will be available to talk with visitors. Weekend events include reveille and retreat ceremonies with more than 25 fife and drum corps and military units from across the United States. An authentic reenactment of Lewis and Clark’s encampment will include reconstructed buildings and interpreters in authentic dress representing St. Charles in 1804. Food from that era, booths of 19th-century crafts, musters, a Native American encampment, and horse-and-carriage parades continue through the event. Dates: May 14 through 23, 2004. Web site: www.lewisandclarkstcharles.com.
5. Heart of America: A Journey Fourth, Atchison and Leavenworth, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri
These Missouri River communities will salute the first Independence Day celebrated in the American West by exploring the changes in culture since Lewis and Clark opened the area for settlement. Planned are a variety of events, programs, and educational materials incorporating cultural and ethnic diversity; reenactments; and historical aspects of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Dates: July 3 and 4, 2004. Web site: www.journey4th.org.
6. First Tribal Council, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, Fort Calhoun, Nebraska
Fort Atkinson State Historical Park, nine miles north of Omaha, will showcase an outdoor reenactment of the First Council between the Corps of Discovery and the Otoe and Missouria Tribes. The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs, in partnership with the Nebraska Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commission, will host the first World Commemoration of the Nebraska Lewis and Clark Powwow. Every tribe along the Lewis and Clark trail, as well as tribes throughout North America, will be invited to participate in the Powwow. Dates: July 31 through August 3, 2004. Web site: www.lewisandclarkne.org.
7. Oceti Sakowin Experience: Remembering and Educating, Oacoma, South Dakota
This signature event will focus on experiences before, during, and after Lewis and Clark visited the Oceti Sakowin (Seven Council Fires). It will include a festival highlighting the Circle of Tipis at Oacoma. In Greenwood, where Lewis and Clark met the Yankton Sioux, the tribe will provide activities introducing their tribal culture and arts. The event will close with a tour of the Circle of Tipis. During the second and third weeks in September, visitors will be able to follow the Lewis and Clark Trail to experience unique educational opportunities and to visit other tribes located near the trail. Dates: August 27 through September 28, 2004. Web site: www.travelsd.com.
8. Circle of Cultures, Time of Renewal and Exchange, Bismarck, North Dakota
The goal of this event is to renew the bonds of friendship and cooperation forged by the Corps of Discovery during the winter of 1804-1805. Visitors to this event will taste what they tasted, see what they saw, and hear what they heard. Lewis and Clark chose this area for the expedition’s winter campsite after receiving information from the Missouri River Indians and experiencing their hospitality. The “Circle of Cultures” will depict the centuries-old trading mecca of the Northern Plains Indians. Visitors can answer President Jefferson’s 87 ethnographic questions about the Plains Indians and experience the hospitality of North Dakota today. Dates: October 22 through 31, 2004. Web site: www.fortlincoln.com.
9. Explore the Big Sky, Great Falls, Montana. A series of events will take place at sites between Fort Benton and Great Falls, Montana
Activities will include Lewis and Clark’s discovery and portage of the great falls of the Missouri River and the celebration of their second Fourth of July during the expedition. Activities will include reenactments, symposiums, museum exhibits, concerts, an opera, traditional Indian villages, tribal games, scenic tours, river tours, and art shows. Also included are opening ceremonies of the International Traditional Tribal Games on June 28, 2005, and a Plains Indian Culture Day on July 2, 2005. Dates: June 1 through July 4, 2005. Future Web site: www.explorethebigsky.com.
10. Destination 2005 “” The Pacific, Fort Clatsop National Memorial, Astoria, Oregon
The Lower Columbia region of Washington and Oregon is the site of the Corps of Discovery’s arrival at the Pacific Ocean and their winter at Fort Clatsop. Events will include a reenactment of their arrival at Station Camp, Chinook, Washington. A public Thanksgiving dinner will be held on November 24, 2005, the same date it was celebrated 200 years ago. The Corps’ decision to cross the Columbia River will be marked by a walk across the four-mile bridge to Astoria. Activities will be held at Fort Clatsop, along the Washington Discovery Trail, and along the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail to the Pacific Ocean. Dates: November 24 through 27, 2005. Web sites: www.nps.gov/focl and www.lewisandclarkwa.org.
11. Clark on the Yellowstone, Pompey’s Pillar, Billings, Montana
Communities along the Yellowstone River will welcome visitors to one of America’s newest national monuments, Pompey’s Pillar. This event will focus on William Clark’s journey down the Yellowstone River and the inscription he left on Pompey’s Pillar, the only remaining physical evidence of the expedition that remains from 200 years ago. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour a new interpretive center and enjoy river floats, historical reenactments, and Native American games. Dates: July 22 through 25, 2006. Web site: www.clarkontheyellowstone.org.
12. Home of Sakakawea, New Town, North Dakota
This signature event contrasts the hopes of President Jefferson with those of tribal leaders who met Lewis and Clark. It also will focus on Sakakawea, the only woman who took part in the expedition. Her story will be presented from oral histories of all the tribes who knew and taught her. This Native American event will offer an Indian arts market and trade show; a men’s traditional dance tournament; cultural demonstrations and reenactments; and tours of Indian country. Dates: August 17 through 20, 2006. Web site: www.mhanation.com.
13. Confluence with Destiny: the Return of Lewis and Clark, St. Louis, Missouri
The Lewis and Clark expedition officially ended when the explorers arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, on September 23, 1806. During the bicentennial celebration, a flotilla of watercraft will originate at various historic sites on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Numerous exhibits and programs will be presented at these sites throughout the weekend. The event will conclude with a convergence of watercraft from these sites on the St. Louis waterfront, emulating the return of Lewis and Clark. Date: September 23, 2006. Web site: www.nps.gov/jeff.