117) Watkuese

Nez Perce Guide whose name means Lost and Was Found

Birth Location is estimated as Idaho, United States of America but it not known for certain

Died: 1805, Idaho, United States of America

Watkuese reportedly saved Lewis and Clark from being killed by her tribe.

She was separated from her tribe (and was a slave to another tribe) and returned having seen white people for the first time—telling her tribe they numbered more than trees in a forest, and they had many things the Nez Perce did not.

Nobody believed her until The Corps of Discovery showed up on their doorstep (this also introduced them to the first African person—the slave York).

Watkuese warned her people to feed the Corps and treat them well because the White Man had treated her well when she’d been a slave.

She is said to have died soon after the Corps left (or possibly even before).

I found a book (linked below) that says Watkuese was taken as a child and sold to another tribe before being sold again to a white man who made her his wife, she had a child with him but returned to her people after he decided to move back across the Atlantic.

On her trek home (which was thousands of miles from the Eastern coast back to Nez Perce territory on the Western Coast), her baby died, but she kept going, finally reaching home. She was most likely in her twenties when she died.

Watkuese's story is featured on an episode of Monumental Mysteries entitled "The Real Rocky, Dr. Burdell, Kissing Sailor".

Badges Earned:

Located In My Personal Library:

Native American Women: Three Who Changed Women by Gloria Stiger Linkey

Malinche, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea: Indian Women as Cultural Intermediaries and National Symbols by Rebecca Kay Juger (Her name is spelled Watkuweis in this text)


Native American Women by Gloria Stiger Linkey