2018 Southern Black Hills Vacation Guide 2018 SHVG website - Page 11

11 C razy Horse Memorial is the world’s largest mountain carving in progress. Located in the Southern Black Hills, Crazy Horse Memo- rial is 17 miles from Mount Rushmore National Me- morial and five miles north of Custer. The dream began in 1939 when Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear asked sculptor Korczak Zi- olkowski to create a memorial to show that, “…the red man has great heroes, also.” The memorial Ziolkowski created is a representation of the Lakota leader, Crazy Horse, riding his horse while gesturing in the distance toward the Black Hills declaring, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.” The official beginning of the massive carving took place June 3, 1948, with the first blast on the moun- tain. It was Ziolkowski’s dream to create a memorial to honor the Indians of North America and that would be carried out and completed by the American people. To this day, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation does not accept government funding. Work is contin- ued through admission fees and private donations. The early work on the mountain was done by Zi- olkowski, his wife, Ruth, and their 10 children. After Ziolkowski’s passing in 1982, the project was carried on by Ruth, who was responsible for the completion of Crazy Horse’s face in 1998. She also expanded the In- dian Museum of North America® and in 2010, started the Indian University of North America®, which is ac- credited by the University of South Dakota. Ruth passed away in 2014 and left the groundwork of the memorial for her children. They are continuing the dream shared by Standing Bear, Korczak and Ruth with the help of the Crazy Horse staff and the board of directors. Ziolkowski and Standing Bear designed the moun- tain carving to be the centerpiece of the greater goal – to bring education and cultural understanding among all people. There is no set completion date for the me- morial and it is also to include a Medical Training Center and an expansion of the Indian Museum of North America®. Once completed, the mountain carving will be 563 feet high and 641 feet long. The face of Crazy Horse stands 87.5 feet tall. By comparison, the heads carved at Mount Rushmore are 60 feet high. The continued focus of the mountain carving is the hand, shoulder and hairline of Crazy Horse himself and the horse’s mane. A dedicated, skilled mountain carving crew is removing the rock by hand, using specialized tools due to the delicate nature of the areas. When you visit, be sure to look closely as the carving continues. Crazy Horse Memorial is open year-round and is located between Hill City and Custer on U.S. High- way 16/385. For more information, call (605) 673- 4681 or visit the memorial’s website at crazyhorsememorial.org.