The Sakakawea statue project began in 1905, when the General Federation of Women's Clubs of North Dakota (then known as the North Dakota Federation of Women's Clubs) began a campaign to erect a suitable statue in honor of Sakakawea. They distributed 20,000 copies of a small booklet, Sakakawea Statue Notes. While some booklets were sold for a small fee, most of the money came from other efforts. With the support of the State Historical Society, the General Federation of Women's Clubs of North Dakota raised over $3,500. School children contributed $555.78 in pennies, and club women donated one dollar each. Additional money was raised through other projects, including the Women's Clubs' issuing of North Dakota's first Christmas seals, which were sold during the 1909 Christmas season.
In 1907, the Legislature donated the site on the state capitol grounds and appropriated $1,500 for the construction of a foundation and pedestal. The statue was unveiled and dedicated October 13, 1910.
In August 2002, the State Historical Society of North Dakota selected Arizona Bronze Fine Arts Ateleier of Tempe, Arizona to create a replica statue. Foundry workers were in Bismarck September 9-18, 2002 to make a mold of the original statue. Arizona Bronze owner Tom Bollinger is a Bismarck native who grew up on Lakota Sioux reservations in the Dakotas and remembers visiting the original statue as a small boy in the 1950s.