“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 worthwile.” – Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski
Soaring proudly above the Black Hills of South Dakota lies perhaps one of the most impressive monuments-in-progress of all time: The Crazy Horse Memorial. Once completed, the Crazy Horse Memorial will be the largest mountain carving in the world and one of the only monuments to honor America’s Native American past, the Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
I had honestly never heard of the Crazy Horse Memorial until venturing out to the Black Hills of South Dakota this past June. With a guidebook in hand and plenty of recommendations from friends, we decided to make it quick stop at Crazy Horse after our drive through the Needles Highway. Little did I realize, the Crazy Horse Memorial would blow me away, even more so than the better known Mount Rushmore.
The Black Hills of South Dakota are sacred to the Lakota people who rightfully and lawfully owned the land until it was taken away six months after gold was discovered near French Creek. The discovery of gold brought thousands of opportunistic miners from all over the country to the plains of South Dakota resulting in the Indian Wars of death and destruction to the Lakota people. Their way of life died along with the many innocent people who lost their lives in battle. Crazy Horse was one of the most heroic leaders and warriors who fought until his death in 1877 for protecting their land. Crazy Horse became a symbol of all that they had lost.
“One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.” – Crazy Horse