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Crazy Horse Memorial:

Last stop of the day, it was impressive as always. We took the bus ride at $4 per person that takes you up to the base of the memorial, where we got to get some pictures and listen to the guide with info about the memorial. After the bus ride, we watched the short movie that they have and checked out the center with all of its displays. Listened to the tribal history from a Native American lady and also watched her do a couple of traditional dances. Ate supper at their restaurant and then headed homeward. We got back to the rigs around 8 and let Chloe run plus took her for a short walk then called it a day.

From: https://crazyhorsememorial.org/

Crazy Horse Memorial® is located in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The elevation on the Mountain is 6,532 feet above sea level and ranks 27th highest mountain in South Dakota. It is made of pegmatite granite and was chosen by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski & Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear for the Crazy Horse Memorial®.

The Mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. The Foundation demonstrates its commitment to this endeavor by following these objectives:

  • Continuing the progress on the world’s largest sculptural undertaking by carving a Memorial of Lakota leader Crazy Horse;
  • Providing educational and cultural programming to encourage harmony and reconciliation among all people and nations;
  • Acting as a repository for Native American artifacts, arts and crafts through THE INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® and THE NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL CENTER®;
  • Establishing and operating THE INDIAN UNIVERSITY OF NORTH AMERICA®, and when practical, a medical training center for American Indians.
  • Brule Lakota Henry Standing Bear was born near Pierre, South Dakota, along the Missouri River – probably in 1874. In his early teens, Standing Bear became one of the first Native Americans to attend Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, where he took on the name of "Henry". As a result of attending Carlisle, Standing Bear concluded that in order to best help his people, it would be necessary for him to learn the ways of the non-Native world. Somewhat ironically, Carlisle – an institution that was designed to assimilate Native Americans out of their indigenous ways – became a source of inspiration that Standing Bear would repeatedly draw upon to shape his enlightened understanding of cross-cultural relationships, as well as to find new ways of preserving his people's culture and history. Standing Bear began to develop and hone leadership skills like public speaking, reasoning, and writing. In addition, Standing Bear realized that because of the changing times, the battle for cultural survival was no longer to be waged with weapons, but with words and ideas. Subsequently, this realization became a driving force behind much of his work during his adult life and led him to become a strong proponent of education.

    Standing Bear attended night school in Chicago while he worked for the Sears Roebuck Company to pay for his schooling. In large part as a result of his education and his willingness to engage the non-Native world, he became heavily involved in the affairs of his people over the course of his life —working with Senator Francis Case and serving as a member of the South Dakota Indian Affairs Commission. He even led the initiative to honor President Calvin Coolidge with a traditional name – "Leading Eagle." Not one to miss an opportunity for advocacy; during the naming ceremony, Standing Bear challenged President Coolidge to take up the leadership role that had been previously filled by highly-respected leaders such as Sitting Bull and Red Cloud.

    In 1933, Standing Bear learned of a monument that was to be constructed at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. The monument was to honor his maternal cousin, Crazy Horse, who was killed at Fort Robinson in 1877. Standing Bear wrote to James Cook who was steering the planned project – sharing with Cook that he and many of his fellow Lakota leaders had formed the Crazy Horse Memorial Association and were promoting a carving of Crazy Horse in the sacred Paha Sapa – Black Hills. Standing Bear explained that as a relative of Crazy Horse, it was culturally appropriate for him to initiate such a memorial to his cousin. In addition, Standing Bear believed strongly that the Black Hills, because of the spiritual significance to the Lakota people, was the only appropriate place for such a memorial. These two beliefs would finally lead Standing Bear to search for a man with skills great enough to carve a memorial to Crazy Horse.

    Without Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, there would be no Crazy Horse Memorial®. Its history revolves around his own extraordinary story, which is reflected in his log studio-home, workshop, and sculptural galleries at Crazy Horse. His life and work are an inspiration to many.

    Although he became most famous as a Mountain Carver, he was a noted studio sculptor and member of the National Sculpture Society before he came west. Crazy Horse represents only the second half of his life. Korczak said it was the collective experience of the difficult first half of his life that prepared him for Crazy Horse.

    Born in Boston of Polish descent, Korczak was orphaned at age one. He grew up in a series of foster homes. As a boy he was badly mistreated, but he learned to work very hard. He also gained heavy construction knowledge and other skills helping his foster father.

    On his own at 16, Korczak took odd jobs to put himself through Rindge Technical School in Cambridge, MA, after which he became an apprentice patternmaker in the shipyards on the rough Boston waterfront. He experimented with woodworking, making beautiful furniture. At age 18, he handcrafted a grandfather clock from 55 pieces of Santa Domingo mahogany. Although he never took a lesson in art or sculpture, he studied the masters and began creating plaster and clay studies. In 1932, he used a coal chisel to carve his first portrait, a marble tribute to Judge Frederick Pickering Cabot, the famous Boston juvenile judge who had befriended and encouraged the gifted boy and introduced him to the world of fine arts.

    Moving to West Hartford, Conn., Korczak launched a successful studio career doing commissioned sculpture throughout New England, Boston, and New York.

    A childhood dream came true when he was asked to assist Gutzon Borglum at Mount Rushmore during the summer of 1939. Media reports about Korczak’s World’s Fair prize and work at Mt. Rushmore prompted Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear to start writing to the sculptor, appealing to him to create a memorial to American Indians. The two eventually met and even toured potential carving sites.

    Back in Connecticut, Korczak spent two years carving his 13 1/2-foot tall Noah Webster Statue as a gift to West Hartford. The work drew national attention but embroiled the community, and the sculptor in controversy, foreshadowing what was to come at Crazy Horse. At age 34, he volunteered for service in World War II. He landed on Omaha Beach and, later, was wounded.

    At war’s end, he was invited to make government war memorials in Europe. However, he decided to accept the invitation of Chief Standing Bear and other supporters and dedicated the rest of his life to Crazy Horse Memorial®.

    "By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwhile."

    Korczak arrived in the Black Hills on May 3, 1947. He worked on the project until his death on October 20, 1982, at age 74. During his nearly 36 years of working on the Mountain, he refused to take any salary at Crazy Horse Memorial®. He is laid to rest in the tomb that he and his sons blasted from a rock outcropping at the base of the mountain. He wrote his own epitaph for the tomb door and cut the letters from steel plate.

    It reads:

  • KORCZAK Storyteller in Stone
  • May His Remains Be Left Unknown

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