April 12, 2010

Chief Crazy Horse Monument

Continually under construction in the Black Hills of South Dakota since 1948, Chief Crazy Horse Monument is a mountain sculpture dedicated to Chief Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota (Sioux Indian) warrior.

Once completed, the Crazy Horse South Dakota monument will depict the upper torso of Chief Crazy Horse mounted on his horse with his arm outstretched and pointing towards the land of his ancestors.

Who Was Chief Crazy Horse

Chief Crazy Horse and Chief Sitting Bull have gone down in history as the leaders of the Sioux uprising and defeat of General Custer in the Battle of Little Big Horn, otherwise known as “Custer’s Last Stand”.

The Crazy Horse mountain memorial includes;

  • Chief Crazy Horse Monument
  • Native American Cultural Center
  • And the Indian Museum of North America

Crazy Horse Monument History

In 1924, Crazy Horse Monument sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski had worked under master sculptor Gutzon Borglum on the Mount Rushmore memorial. Ziolkowski was inspired to create the Crazy Horse Monument after receiving a letter from native Indian Chief Henry Standing Bear who asked if Ziolkowski would be interested in creating a monument for the native North Americans to show that the Indian nations also have their heroes.

Location of Crazy Horse Monument

The Native Americans consider Thunderhead Mountain, where the monument is being carved, to be sacred ground. Thunderhead Mountain is situated between Custer City and Hill City. The location of Crazy Horse Monument in relation to Mount Rushmore is only about 8 miles away.

Size of Crazy Horse Monument

The finished dimensions of the Crazy Horse memorial are expected to be approximately 641 feet (195 meters) wide and 563 feet (172 meters tall). When the Crazy Horse Monument is finished, the head of Chief Crazy Horse will be the world’s largest sculpture of the human head measuring approximately 87 feet (27 meters) tall; more than 27 feet taller than the 60 foot faces of the US Presidents carved in the side of Mount Rushmore.

One of the most interesting facts the Crazy Horse Monument is that upon completion, Chief Crazy Horse Monument will be the largest sculpture in the world.

Completion of Crazy Horse Monument

Perhaps the most common question asked is “When will Crazy Horse Monument be finished?” No one is really sure. The blasting continues and the memorial is a work in progress, dependent upon donations and private funding only. Although the US Government has offered to help fund the construction of the Chief Crazy Horse Monument on several occasions, artist and sculptor Korczak Ziokowski and his successors have politely declined.

Since Ziokowski’s death in 1982, the project has been under the direction of the non-profit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, which has chosen to honor Korczak Ziokowski intentions at aiming for higher educational and cultural goals by keeping the funding of the project private. With the help of the foundation the work continues and is overseen by Ziolkowski’s wife Ruth and their 10 children. There is no target completion date at this time however, in 1998, the face of Crazy Horse was completed and dedicated.

The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation regularly takes the lead in cultural, social and educational events. There is the Volksmarch; the occasion where the public is allowed into the actual monument grounds. Visitors and enthusiasts to this event have grown to 15,000 annually. Basically, the foundation generates its funds by its visitor fees with visitors numbering to more than a million yearly.

Crazy Horse Monument Controversy

The Crazy Horse South Dakota monument has also had its share of controversy. The sculpted likeness of Chief Crazy Horse is dedicated to the spirit of Crazy Horse and the all Native Americans since it is well known that Crazy Horse did not want being photographed during his lifetime and is reportedly buried in an undisclosed location.

While Lakota (Indian) Chief Henry Standing Bear believed in the sincerity of the motives, a lot of Native Americans are still against this memorial. Some of the people who knew the history of Crazy Horse likened the monument to a pollution and desecration of the landscape and environment of the national park and its vicinity.

Included with Mt  Rushmore & Yellowstone Tour

Caravan’s all inclusive Mount Rushmore Tour also includes an escorted tour of the Chief Crazy Horse monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

The Mt Rushmore – Yellowstone Park tour is an all inclusive 8-day travel tour exceptionally priced, starting at just $995. Visit Caravan’s Rushmore, Yellowstone & Crazy Horse Reviews page to read what others have said about these fully escorted, All Inclusive Tours by Caravan.

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