Crazy Horse Memorial

Crazy Horse Memorial - South Dakota, USA - Emily Swenson

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How the Memorial Began

On June 3, 1948, Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear officially started Crazy Horse Memorial (Crazy Horse Memorial). Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain carving located in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Crazy Horse, also known as Tashunka Witco, is one of the best known leaders of the Black Hills Gold Rush which occurred at the last half of the nineteenth century (Johansen 269-270). He was a fearless leader throughout the battle. The Lakota Chief approached Korczak and asked if he would sculpt a memorial of a great and patriotic hero to honor Crazy Horse’s values and his story that served as an inspiration for people of all races (Johansen 268). Crazy Horse remains as a role model of selfless dedication and service to others. According to the Crazy Horse Memorial Organization’s official website, Henry Standing Bear in 1939 once said, “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, also.” To commemorate such a leader, Henry Standing Bear and his chiefs decided to discuss with Korczak Ziolkowski, a sculptor, on the possibility of creating a memorial.

Korczak envisioned the carving to be Crazy Horse himself leading his tribe, pointing to the land that the Lakota tribe, division of the Sioux, once lived upon (Hot Springs Cyber). Even though Korczak had a big project to finish, there was plenty of help available. Korczak and his wife, Ruth, had ten children, five boys and five girls (Crazy Horse Memorial). This work all started with Korczak, however. He worked on the mountain alone for several years before involving six of his children. This family, along with the help of others, still continues to work on the mountain today (Hot Springs Cyber). The progress will progress throughout the family’s work and will further be an honor to Crazy Horse, leader of the Lakota Indians.

Progress Today & In the Future

The progress of Crazy Horse only continues through personal donations and contributions of the tourists. In the perspective of Korczak Ziolkowski, “If the public accepted the goals of Crazy Horse Monument, they would support it financially” (Crazy Horse Memorial). He wishes to have respect for the memorial, and knowing that people chip in on the project provides happiness for the family. The memorial is a non-profit organization where contributions are tax deductible under IRS rules (Crazy Horse Memorial).

Because materials for blasts on the mountain are at a high cost, the growth of the memorial is gradual. Also, the blasts are carefully planned and completed when all conditions are ready such as weather, safety, etc. (Crazy Horse Memorial).

Not only is the Crazy Horse Memorial just a monument, it will be advanced to a school and hospital. As claimed by the Crazy Horse Memorial’s official website, “The three major goals of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation include the mountain carving, the museum, and the university/medical center.” The family and the foundation will pursue their goals, hoping to achieve respect.

The Indian Museum of North America

The Indian Museum of North America is located at Crazy Horse Memorial. According to the organization’s official website, “[This museum] is home to an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of the American Indian people.” However, the museum, along like many other museums, had to have a beginning. In 1965, Charles Edner, Assiboine-Sioux from Montana, started with a single display at the museum. This display remains at Crazy Horse Memorial to be recognized (Crazy Horse Memorial). Since this one artifact, hundreds of articles have been donated. There is a collection of tribal flags in 1982 at the museum. It began when the first flag was presented to Ruth Ziolkowski by Ogala Sioux Tribe representatives, following the death of Korczak. The highest honor for Native Americans would be to receive one of these 125 tribal flags (Crazy Horse Memorial). Not only are the tribal flags displayed, but there are many other artifacts as well. As claimed by the Crazy Horse Memorial Organization, “Close to 90 percent of the museum collection has been donated, both by Native Americans and non-Natives. Many individuals and families have decided that the Indian Museum of North America is where their American Indian artifacts and art should find a permanent home.” These traditions still continue. The Crazy Horse Memorial Organization concurs when they note, “Each year, tribal members and others contribute Native American art and artifacts to enhance the collection and representation of all North American tribes.” To recognize such artifacts, the Crazy Horse Memorial Museum was created.