Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Crazy Horse Memorial

Only three hours from my house is this impressive feat of man - the largest mountain carving in the world.  Crazy Horse Monument is far from complete, but when it is, it will be 563 feet tall, and tower above an American Indian university and medical center, as depicted here.

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear began work officially in 1948 on this memorial, which they envisioned would honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.  They chose the Lakota leader Crazy Horse as a subject because they felt he embodied the spirit of all Native Americans through his ferocity in battle and his dedication to preserving their way of life.  He was murdered by a soldier after surrendering, and thus became a martyr.

Ziolkowski worked on this monument for the last half of his life, and when he died in 1982, his wife and seven of his ten children took up his work.  The monument is entirely funded by donations and admission fees, as the sculptor felt it would compromise the integrity of the project if federal or state funds were used.  Because of this, and the mercurial weather of the Black Hills, work proceeds slowly, and no one knows when the monument will be completed. 

In this photo you can see the white outline of the horse's head, with his ear pointed back toward the face.  The long, flat surface that stretches out from the face will be Crazy Horse's arm, stretched out in front of him.  Ziolkowski depicted Crazy Horse with his left hand pointing in answer to the famous question asked of him, "Where are your lands now?" Crazy Horse replied, "My lands are where my dead lie buried."


  1. Never heard about this before. Very good post Victoria. Love to travel across your country through out your pictures. Thanks :)

  2. Sweet - thank you :) I'm so glad I could take you along with me on my travels.