Lewis and Clark focus of talk by historian

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Historian and author David Nicandri will offer his take on the Lewis and Clark Expedition in a talk Friday in Vancouver.

Nicandri, executive director of the Washington State Historical Society, will present “Deconstructing the Lore of Lewis and Clark.”

The 7 p.m. event will be on the grounds of the Fort Vancouver National Site in the Red Cross Building (also known as E.B. Hamilton Hall), 605 Barnes Road.

Nicandri will use the presentation to introduce his book, “River of Promise: Lewis and Clark on the Columbia.” It looks at the explorers’ experiences on the west side of the Continental Divide, from Lemhi Pass to the mouth of the Columbia River and back again.

A publisher’s summary says that Nicandri challenges a number of what he regards as Lewis and Clark myths and legends, including the notion that Sacagawea was a “good will ambassador” for the expedition, the view that Lewis and Clark maintained a friendship and co-captaincy of “perfect harmony,” and the notion that Lewis experienced a palpable disappointment at Lemhi Pass when he saw ranges of mountains between him and the navigable waters of the Columbia River system.

Nicandri also looks at Lewis’s mental decline in the Pacific Northwest, especially on the return journey up the Columbia in the spring of 1806. Nicandri, who believes that Lewis committed suicide in 1809, carefully attempts to identify the seeds of that self-destruction at the far side of the North American continent, wrote Clay Jenkinson, with The Dakota Institute Press.

The program is presented by the Washington State Historical Society in partnership with the Fort Vancouver National Trust, the Center for Columbia River History and the National Park Service.