Almost 70 years ago Lakota (Sioux) Chief Henry Standing Bear asked Korczak Ziolkowski to create a monument of Crazy Horse in the sacred Black Hills. Today, you can see Standing Bear’s dream has grown into enormous reality.
Crazy Horse Memorial, mankind’s largest art project in progress (641 feet long and 563 feet high, carved in the round, with 219-foot high horse’s head) is on U.S. Highway 16/385 between Hill City and Custer. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is just 17 miles from Crazy Horse.
Travelers reaching the southern Black Hills in South Dakota come here to see the world’s largest carving taking shape at Crazy Horse Memorial. Visitors from around the world, more than one million a year, also learn that the Memorial, which is dedicated to honoring North America’s Native American people, is not just a dream and it’s much more than the monumental sculpture.
Chief Henry Standing Bear led sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski (core JOCK Jewel CUFF ski) to this dream site in 1946. Standing Bear, “Mato Najin” in Lakota, and other Itancan (Lakota leaders) saw Mount Rushmore develop and wanted a mountain monument in their sacred Black Hills to show that the “red man has great heroes also.”
Korczak broadened the Lakota leaders’ dream to include a museum to help American Indians preserve their heritage, and a university with a medical training center to assist them in remaining a vibrant culture in a changing world.
In 1946, Standing Bear and Korczak, a self-taught artist from Boston, stood in a virtual wilderness. While they had high hopes, they had almost no money. However, Korczak banked on his belief that you can do anything if you work hard and never quit.
Before he died in 1982, he had blocked out the rough contours of the carving that will depict legendary Lakota leader Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko) astride his horse and pointing to his home, declaring “my lands are where my dead lie buried.”