Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

At a height of 6532 feet, Thunderhead Mountain is the 27th highest peak in South Dakota. More significantly, for the last 67 years it has been undergoing a remarkable transformation, into what will probably be the largest stone sculpture in the world.

IMG_1533The carving is of the inspirational former leader of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Crazy Horse. When complete, the entire sculpture is planned to be 641 feet long and 563 feet high. It will depict the iconic Native American chief riding on the back of a stallion, pointing forwards.

IMG_1532The memorial was commissioned by Oglala Lakota chief Henry Standing Bear and designed by Polish-American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who was one of the sculptors that worked on the nearby Mount Rushmore, also in the Black Hills.

IMG_1536Unfortunately, the memorial is not without controversy. Some Lakota tribe members believe that, far from being an inspiration to Native Americans, the sculpture is a scar on the landscape and against all that Crazy Horse stood for. I guess it’s for each person to decide for themselves how they feel about that.

IMG_1544All photos were taken during my visit to the Crazy Horse Memorial in February, 2009.

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11 Responses to Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

  1. This is such a vast monument. We were then in May 2010 and I don’t think it had changed much since your visit. They say that the Mount Rushmore sculpture would fit into just the head of Crazy Horse. It’s amazing to think that it was started in 1948 by Polish American Korczak Ziolkowski, and after his death in 1982, that his wife and seven of his ten children have carried on the work. The video we saw of how it all came about was truly awe inspiring. What a story!

  2. Jaspa says:

    It certainly is an incredible undertaking, isn’t it, Sylvia? I wonder if either of us will get to see it finished!

  3. It’s going to take a lot of years yet!


  4. Pingback: Travel Theme-Inspiration | WoollyMuses

  5. Pingback: WPC: Transition (Shutters) | Chris Breebaart Photography / What's (in) the picture?

  6. stephgost says:

    Lovely photos! Interesting place, maybe I’ll be able to visit there some day.

  7. Leya says:

    Very interesting post – and I understand that there must be differencies in opinion about it. Thank you for posting1

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