The Crazy Horse Memorial Has Been Under Construction Since 1948 And It’s One Of The Largest In The World

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a monumental sculpture which is under construction in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It has been in progress since 1948 but it is still far from completion, even after 72 years. So, the mountain monument depicts Tasunke Witco, famously known as Crazy Horse, a Lakota war leader of the Oglala band in the 19th century. The gigantic monument will depict the legendary warrior riding a horse and pointing towards the land where Native Americans were buried.

It is also notable to point out that the memorial site isn’t far from Mount Rushmore. And there’s actually a historical connection between these two iconic monuments that most of us didn’t know. Witco rose up against the U.S. Federal Government to prevent white settlers from encroaching on the territories of the Lakota people. Some of his famous clashes against the U.S. military include the Fetterman Fight (December 1886) and the Battle of the Little Bighorn (June 1876).

 

Crazy Horse Memorial at Black Hills, South Dakota

He was already a full-fledged warrior in his mid-teens. So, he was well-known by the Lakota people for his bravery and prowess in battle. He went into battle riding his steed with a single hawk feather in his hair and a lightning mark on his face. After defeating the U.S. Army at the Battle of Little Bighorn, the U.S. government retaliated by sending scouts to round up any Northern Plains tribes who resisted. Because of this, many Indian Nations made the decision to move across the country.

The warrior surrendered to the U.S. army under General Crook in May 1877 and he was allegedly killed by a military guard when he attempted to resist imprisonment. Even years after his death, many Native Americans still recognize his heroism and valor. In the 1930’s, the U.S. government started working on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial depicting the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Henry Standing Bear, the chief of the Oglala Lakota at that time, appealed to the government to include the legendary Lakota leader in the memorial but this was rejected.

 

This Statue Has Been Under Construction For 72 Years

 

So, Henry Standing Bear took it upon himself to build a memorial statue of the warrior. He wrote to Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowsk who had been working under Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor behind Mount Rushmore. Ziolkowsk found the project intriguing and decided to give it a go. Henry Standing Bear had to trade all of his land to the government in exchange for the mountain where the monument was to be built. And in 1948, the project began under Ziolkowsk.

 

View this post on Instagram

O Crazy Horse Memorial está localizado no território lendário das Black Hills no estado de Dakota do Sul e desde 1948 está em construção. Embora esteja aberto como um local para os turistas visitarem e possua a cabeça do Crazy Horse concluída com 27 metros de altura a obra está muito longe de terminar. O escultor polonês Korczak Ziolkowski começou a trabalhar no Crazy Horse Memorial em 1948. Uma vez concluída, se for, essa homenagem ao líder Lakota será a maior escultura nos EUA e no mundo. . Caso essa engenharia seja realizada as dimensões finais da escultura ficariam; 195 m de comprimento e 172 m de altura. Somente a cabeça do Crazy Horse tem 27 m. Por comparação, a cabeça dos quatro presidentes dos Estados Unidos no Mount Rushmore têm 18 m cada e o Cristo Redentor tem 30 m. . A Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation é uma organização sem fins lucrativos financiada apenas insumos vindos dos ingressos para visitação e algumas doações. . As falta de sensibilidade dos governos que passaram pelos EUA ao longo desses 70 anos deixaram a memória do povo Lakota e dos nativos americanos no geral bem debaixo dos interesses. O arrastar da conclusão dessa magnífica obra é um exemplo disso. Lamentável. . . #crazyhorse #americanindian #indian #lakota #sioux #littlebighorn #sittingbull #crazyhorsememorial #indianpride #escultura #monumento #mountain #blackhills #spirit #indianspirit #desing #indio #povosindigenas #mont #arrow #warrior #warriors

A post shared by Southern Soul Music Revival (@ssmroficial) on

 

 

Ziolkowsk thought it would take them 30 years to complete the monumental memorial. But he was wrong. The sculptor died in 1982 at the age of 74 leaving behind his unfinished sculpture. After his death, his wife Ruth decided to continue the project using Korczak’s original plan. But instead of starting with the horse, she decided to focus on the warrior’s face first. She thought that completing the face would attract tourists which could help with the funding. Apparently, the U.S. government has no involvement with the project in any way. So, Ziolkowsk has to find the funds for the project.

 

A Model Of The Planned Sculpture

In 1998, the face of the warrior was completed flaunting a staggering 87 feet height. That’s actually bigger than the 60-foot portraits at Mount Rushmore. So, when Ruth died in 2014, her daughter Monique Ziolkowski took over the project as an attempt to complete her parent’s unfinished work. After over 70 years since it started, the memorial is still far from completion. Although the face of the great leader is now visible, Monique still has a long way to go to finish the statue. Based from the original plan, the sculpture’s final dimensions are 641 feet long and 563 feet high. If completed, it should become the second tallest statue in the world, after India’s Statue of Unity at 597 feet high.

 

The Unfinished Memorial Statue Is Now a Popular Tourist Attraction

 

 

View this post on Instagram

@crazyhorsememorial’s mission: “is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians.” Chief Henry Standing Bear of the Lakota wrote Korczak Zió?kowski (who had briefly worked on Mount Rushmore), saying, "My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know the red man has great heroes, too." A short distance from #MountRushmore, this majestic rock carving stands. Crazy Horse has been in the making for decades and many more are needed until its completion. The tragedies and dark history of the past cannot be undone, but the vision of Crazy Horse stands so we can learn from history and move forward together as one people. ???? #Lakota #crazyhorse #USA #southdakota #blackhills #chiefhenrystandingbear #mylandsarewheremydeadlieburied #sacredland #crazyhorsememorial #sd

A post shared by @ choose__the__right on

Now, you may think that everyone would wish to have a colossal sculpture built to commemorate their heroic deeds. But that may not be the case with the warrior. As it’s a well-known fact that the he refused to have his picture or likeness taken. So, without any photos of him, Korczak only relied on descriptions from survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Relatives of the great Lakota leader opposed the idea of building him a statue because they believed he wouldn’t agree to this if he was alive. Furthermore, some members of the Lakota community find it disrespectful because the memorial site is a sacred burial ground.

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

#CrazyHorseMemorial

A post shared by JBH (@hollowayjb) on

Well, there’s always a story and controversy behind every piece of artwork and the Crazy Horse memorial is no different. But, only time can tell if the ambitious project will be completed or not and it will be a record-breaking feat if it does.

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

So glad I came to see the Crazy Horse Memorial! It will be amazing when it is finished! The Crazy Horse Memorial will depict the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. Crazy Horse (Tashunka Witko) was known among his people as a farsighted chief, committed to safeguarding the tradition and principles of the Sioux (Lakota) way of life. Distinguished by his fierceness in battle, he was a great general who led his people in a war against the invasion of their homeland by the white man. Crazy Horse was sent to Fort Robinson, where he was killed in a scuffle with soldiers who were trying to imprison him in a cell. Basically he was killed by police while in custody on Sept 6, 1877 at the age of 35. ??????? #CrazyHorseMemorial #Sioux #Lakota #SouthDakota #RoadTrip #summervacation2020 #SocialDistancing

A post shared by Leo McCormick?????? (@leomccormick70) on