When the first blast took place to begin work on the Crazy Horse Memorial, five survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn watched.
It was June 3, 1948, and sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski got to work. He had been asked by Henry Standing Bear, an Oglala Lakota chief, to build a memorial to honor all Native Americans. The image being carved is of Oglala Lakota strategist Crazy Horse, who fought to preserve his people’s way of life and led his warriors to victory at the Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876.
Seventy-five years after the first blast, you can watch crews drilling, carving and removing rock at the Crazy Horse Memorial, which is still under construction. Four of Ziolkowski’s children and some of his 23 grandchildren work on the sculpture, which is the world’s largest monument carving in progress.
Located 17 miles from Mount Rushmore, the monument is financed by admission fees and donations. No federal or state funds are accepted.
Hungry? Sample traditional Native American food at the Laughing Water Restaurant, featuring great views of the monument. Don’t forget to stop in the museum and gift shop that features local artists and USA-made products.
Crazy Horse Memorial is open year-round. See the Legends in Light® laser light show and Native American performers from Memorial Day weekend through the end of September.
Biannual Volksmarch at Crazy Horse
The Crazy Horse Volksmarch is the most popular organized hike in America with up to 15,000 hikers. It is a 10k (6.2-mile hike ending with a walk up the giant stone memorial. In spring, join the hike in June. In fall, hike in October, scheduled concurrently with the Custer State Park Buffalo Round-up. crazyhorsememorial.org/crazy-horse-volksmarch.html
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Crazy Horse Memorial