Excerpt 10

As we can see, both tribal elders and non-Indian storytellers reflect the confusion of these interactions. But there is also a crucial difference in how these stories are told. The Salish accounts consciously focus on the misunderstanding. They make a point of how Indians misinterpreted the white visitors, and of how the white men also misunderstood their Salish hosts. In contrast, most popular accounts of the expedition, with some prominent exceptions, downplay or even deny Lewis and Clark's profound misunderstanding of the native peoples they encountered during their journey. Most of these accounts minimize, or even treat as a curious side issue, the expedition's inability to communicate very well with Indians, including the Salish.