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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Marie Iowa

b. 1786, Iowa; d. 1850, French Prairie, Oregon

The correct name of this person is MARIE DORION.

Marie Dorion, a member of the Sioux Nation, was the second woman to trek overland across the North American continent (the first was Sacajawea). She traveled with the Hunt Expedition, financed by John Jacob Astor to establish a fur-trading post at the mouth of the Columbia River on the Oregon coast. The expedition leader, Wilson Price Hunt, hired Marie’s husband Pierre as an interpreter, and the party set out from St. Louis, Missouri, in April 1811. Marie was pregnant and had two children in tow. Before they reached their destination (what is now Astoria), several men had died of exposure and exhaustion; Marie gave birth somewhere along the Powder River, but the baby died a few days later. In 1813/14, she and her family traveled to the Snake River with a trapping Party. Indians attacked and killed the trappers, including her husband, but Marie and her children escaped into the Blue Mountains, where they survived fifty days of bitter cold before making their way back.