The Union County Museum will host their October Third Tuesday event in the Little White Church in Union, Tuesday, October 15, at 7 p.m. The title of the presentation is The Little-Known Story of Marie Dorion. This is the last museum event of the year.
The Story of Madame Dorion
Six years after Captains Lewis and Clark included Sacajawea in their expedition to the Pacific Ocean, Marie Dorion, an Iowa Indian, made much the same trip, with the Wilson Price Hunt Expedition, financed by John Jacob Astor. Caught during winter months in often horrendous circumstances, and under leadership that could only be described as incompetent, Madame Dorion’s trek was both many, many miles further, and, she made it while pregnant and caring for two children under 5. Her epic story shows the strength and perseverance needed to survive – sometimes alone and against all odds.
While Sacajawea did not come through the Grande Ronde Valley (as the Lewis & Clark Expedition was further to the north), Madame Dorion passed through several times. An historic marker along Highway 237, just a couple of miles north of North Powder gives the outline of her story, focusing on the birth of a baby daughter near the site of the marker, just days before New Year’s Eve, 1811.
History has treated the two women very differently: one became a celebrity and the other has been virtually forgotten. Her story of courage and determination is worthy of being remembered.
Bev White Bio for Third Tuesday
Beverly Donovan White was born in Pendleton and attended college at what is now Eastern Oregon University. After marriage, she and husband Bill moved to this area where, she taught in Baker City, Imbler and La Grande. The last 24 years of her career she was a reading specialist at La Grande Middle School. In 1993 she started the Literacy Center which provides free tutoring and materials and is now housed in Cook Memorial Library. Many volunteers have helped with this effort and she says more are always welcome!
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