Crazy Horse adorns mountain

The Black Hills of South Dakota are home to Mt Rushmore, a giant carving of four former presidents of the United States of America.  As impressive as Mt Rushmore is, there is an even larger mountain carving being created nearby of the famous Latoka tribe Chief Crazy Horse.

This gigantic sculpture has been a work in progress for over 60 years, when work was first started by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski on June 3, 1948.

Called the Crazy Horse Memorial, the sculpture is being carved out of a mountain that is privately owned, and which has the support of the Latoka Nation.

Native American leaders chose Crazy Horse for the mountain carving because he was a great and patriotic hero. Crazy Horse’s tenacity of purpose, his modest life, his unfailing courage, and his tragic death set him apart and above the others.

He is a hero not only because of his skill in battle, but also because of his character and his loyalty to his people. He is remembered for how he cared for the elderly, the ill, the widowed and the children. His dedication to his personal vision caused him to devote his life to serving his people and to preserving their valued culture.

And this carving is certainly massive. When completed the Crazy Horse mountain carving will be 641 feet long (195 metres) by 563 feet (171m) high. Crazy Horse’s completed head is 87 feet 6 inches (26m) high. The horse’s head, currently the focus of work on the mountain, is 219 feet (66m) or 22 stories high.

Korczak and Latoka Chief Henry Standing Bear chose the mountain in 1946, because it was suitable rock and because it was on property that could be acquired. The land on which the Memorial is located is owned by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a non-profit corporation. The project receives no government funding so depends on the public for support.   

The sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski 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. Today, his work is being continued by his sons.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota on US Highway 16/385 just 17 miles (27 kilometres) southwest of Mount Rushmore.

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