March 16, 2001
inducted to Northwest Minnesota Women's Hall of Fame
by Anne Dunn
Women's History Month 2001 has been a celebration of the triumphs and
trials of women. To kick-off the annual event, two women were inducted
into the Northwest Minnesota Women's Hall of Fame, Margaret Marvin and
Esther Burnette Horne (posthumously honored).
Margaret Marvin began teaching in Warroad after in graduating from
Macalester College in 1939. She also served as the librarian. Her work
on behalf of the library and bringing library services, including
bookmobiles, to rural people of all ages has impacted her community,
the region and the state. She has received numerous awards for her
library advocacy including the American Library Association's honor as
one of the extraordinary advocates of the 20th century and the
Minnesota Library Association Certificate of Merit.
Esther Horne, the second NMWHF inductee of 2001, was a member of the
Wind River Shoshone nation and spent the last 25 years of her
productive life on the White Earth Reservation. She passed away in
1999, at 90 years of age. Her long-time friend Doyle Turner, chairman
of the White Earth Reservation Tribal Council, accepted the award in
According to Doyle, Esther made a lasting impression on all who knew
her. "She had the ability to say the right thing at the right time," he
said. "She was our good will ambassador.
"It was not unusual to find a foreign visitor at her home," he
continued. "A man came from Sweden just to talk with her. She was a
bridge-builder and she taught us to build, too. She was a seeker of
peace, reaching across the ocean in friendship, she shared her vision
of hope for humanity."
Esther graduated from Haskell Institute in 1929 and took classes in
numerous colleges in the US. She taught in the BIA educational system,
in boarding school in Oklahoma and the Wahpeton Indian School in North
She received many honors, including Master Teacher for the BIA and the
Distinguished Service Award from the Department of the Interior. In
1965, after more than 30 years of teaching, she retired to Naytahwaush.
She then served northern Minnesota as advisor, mentor, teacher and
cultural bridge-builder through the region's schools, churches, and
tribal organizations concerned with the education of Anishinabe
She authored a booklet on the oral traditions of her great-great
grandmother, Sacajawea, and co-authored a book about herself entitled
"Essie's Story: The Life and Legacy of a Shoshone Teacher". Both of
which make important contributions to American Indian history. In
addition, she was named Outstanding American Indian Elder of the
Minnesota Indian Education Association in 1989.
"Essie's Story" was written in two parts. The first part is written
entirely by anthropologist Sally McBeth. The main part of the books a
collaboration presented by both authors. The format is chronological
and begins with Sacajawea.
Esther writes of her experiences in an Indian Residential School, which
became her extended family. Her story continues into her married and
professional life. It ends with a discussion on issues related to the
conflicting perceptions between historians and the native oral
traditions regarding the life and death of Sacajawea.
According to historian Russell Reid, the spelling of this famous name
has been a mater of controversy. In the Hidatsa language, the names
should be spelled Tsakakawias, Bird Woman. However, the name was
eventually anglicized for easier pronunciation and became Sakakawea.
Adding to the confusion is another spelling recently adopted,
Sacagawea. The name Sacajawea is Shoshone for Boat Launcher.
When Sakakawea was about 12 years old, she was captured by a party of
Hidatsa or Minnetarees who were at that time living in three earthlodge
villages on the Knife River in North Dakota. The Shoshone were attacked
at Three Forks, Montana. Several Men, women and boys were killed. Some
of the children were taken into captivity by the Hidatsa. As was
customary, some of them were accepted as members of the tribe.
Some time after her arrival at the Hidatsa village, Sakakawea was
acquired by Toussaint Charbanneau, a French trader who resided in the
village, and later became his wife.
The Lewis and Clark expedition arrived at the Mandan and Hidatsa
villages near the mouth of the Knife River on October 26, 1804. They
constructed a fort that was named Fort Mandan on the east side of the
Missouri River about three miles below the first Mandan village.
When Lewis and Clark departed to continue their expedition Charbanneau,
Sakakawea and Baptiste, their infant son, accompanied them. Although
her major contribution to the success of the expedition was not as a
guide, she did point out landmarks on the route. It was largely through
her efforts that the expedition obtained horses and other assistance
from her people, the Shoshone. Her services also included finding food.
On May 14, 1805, she rescued packets or paper, instruments, book, and
medicine that were being washed out of one of the boats when it nearly
capsized during a sudden storm. According to Clark's journal of October
13, 1805, her presence made the expedition appear more friendly and she
became their token of peace.
The Wind River Reservation, the third largest reservation in the US, is
located in west-central Wyoming. It originally encompassed 44 million
acres but land cessions reduced it to 2,268 acres. It is home to the
Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe.