Monday, August 25, 2008

Greetings from the Crazy Horse Memorial

I've been meaning to write this entry since we returned from South Dakota earlier this Spring. The highlight of our trip was the Crazy Horse Memorial. This project was started 60 years ago when a group of Native Americans including Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear invited sculptor Korzak Ziolkowski to create a monument in the Black Hills to a Native American Hero.

Here is a view of the Crazy Horse Memorial from the viewing deck and a scale model of the completed sculpture. The monument is one mile away.

In this picture you can see the former outline of the mountain and the work that is in progress on the horses head.

I did not re-size these photos before posting. You can click on each photo to explore them. In the photo above there is man in a hard hat just under Crazy Horse's chin. He is looking below toward a person who is repelling down the rock face. In the lower right hand corner there is a large excavator.

The work on this project is funded by private donations. Ziolkowski was a firm believer of private enterprise, turning down funds from the government. The progress on the project is directly related to funds collected. The foundation has three major goals: the mountain carving, the Indian Museum of North America, and the Indian University (and Medical Training Center) of North America.

The scale of this project is mammoth. Korzak Ziolkowski worked on this project for years, both alone and with the help of his family. I loved the presentation that accompanies the viewing of the work in progress. My favorite part of the presentation was seeing the pictures of his children helping him load dynamite. Ziolkowski Korczak worked for nearly 36 years and refused to take any salary for this memorial. He worked on the project until his death October 20, 1982, at age 74. His wife and children continue his work.

We came to this monument not knowing what to expect. We ended up spending 4 hours more than we had planned. The museum collections are wonderful. I especially enjoyed the beadwork displays. It took a few months to write this post because I left this place feeling so many different emotions. I will not share these thoughts as I think everone should expirience this place from their own point of view. If you ever make it to this part of the world do not miss a chance to see this work in progress. You won't be sorry.
“You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it, however.” - Richard Bach


annette emms said...

This is wonderful stuff! What an experience, to visit such a place and witness the efforts of this man.
I'm fascinated by Native American history and would love to hear more!

Robyn said...

Wow, amazing! Amazing story behind it too. I love the face as it is but if they finish it, it will be magnificent.

Gwen Buchanan said...

This is an amazing presentation Chris. I never knew this was taking place.. I am overwhelmed by it!! thank you for sharing this. It must have been wonderful to see this in person