Special Event 2023

The Unfinished Journey of Lewis and Clark: What’s Next?

Wed Feb 1, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event Video

The forefathers of adventure travel, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were co-leaders of an expedition tasked with exploring land that the United States had recently acquired at the turn of the 19th century. Their trip would turn into an epic 8,000-mile-long trek—and the first big step in the United States’ westward expansion. And though you may have heard their names in elementary school, their story is more fascinating than what is usually skimmed over in school.

Clay Jenkinson is one of the leading Lewis and Clark scholars in America; he is also the editor of the Lewis and Clark quarterly journal, “We Proceeded On.” In this program, Jenkinson will provide some background on the famous 1804-06 expedition (Lewis and Clark 101) and then talk about the future frontiers of Lewis and Clark studies. Now that the 13-volume definitive edition of the journals is available (free on the internet), it is time to read or re-read the journals with exacting attention: not to comb the narrative out of the journal fragments, but to explore the social dynamics of the expedition, its complicated relations with Native Americans, the mix of adventure and imperialism of the expedition, and the relations of Lewis and Clark.

Jenkinson will talk about Clark’s extraordinary capacity as a cartographer, including a map he drew in April 1806 after just one day’s reconnaissance of the Willamette River in what is now Oregon. He’ll also discuss the journal of private Joseph Whitehouse, which Clay is editing for a facsimile edition to be published by the Washington State University Press.

Did Sacagawea really guide the expedition? Were Lewis and Clark “the best friends in American history,” as the late Stephen Ambrose declared? What happened to Lewis after his return in 1806? Did he commit suicide or is it possible that he was murdered on the Natchez Trace in 1809?

Join Jenkinson for this special program discussing these and other remaining mysteries of the most famous exploration mission in American history.

Event Video


Clay Jenkinson

Clay Jenkinson


Dakota Sky Education, Inc.