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Rushmore fans, meet Crazy Horse

"By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwhile.” Korczak Ziolkowski, 1948

The hype in South Dakota is all about, The Black Hills, Wind Cave, Badlands and, of course, Mount Rushmore. Sure all are amazing, and Mount Rushmore is an unbelievable feat -cutting the likeness of presidents into the side of a mountain. What we did not know, is that down the road from the presidents, was a similar work in progress 10x it's size - Crazy Horse.

The Mission of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. We have always been pulled to the stories of the Native Americans. It's important for us to education our children on what was once America, before the United States. The exclamation on this point, was the fact that while at the Crazy Horse Memorial, we met an Indian Chef, Ed "Eagle Man" McGaa. He was promoting his book series at the foundation, signing autographs and telling stories of his and his ancestors past. We were next in line to buy his book, "A Warrior's Odyssey" when we realized he was only able to cash. Disappointed we asked if we could get the book online. his response, "Take this, mail me a check when you get a chance, here is my address". [Sigh] Who does that anymore? The trust, the faith, the spirit within giving another spirit the chance to be true. He definitely had us at, the book hand-off. But that's not why we want to introduce you to Crazy Horse - it's just another reason.

So, tell me about this monument: Korczak Ziolkowski began work on Crazy Horse Memorial in 1948. His thoughts on the American Indians was much like ours - These Americans had heroes too. His task, once complete, would be a tribute to the Lakota leader and the largest mountain carving in South Dakota, and the world. In addition to this monument, there is an on-site Indian Museum of North American and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center which provide educational and cultural programming. Emerging from granite and iron is the likeness of a legendary leader. More than carved rock, the Crazy Horse dream points toward commitment, a fervent legacy and a proud future.

How it came to be...and continues to be...

- In 1939 – Korczak Ziolkowski, a noted New England sculptor, first came to the Black Hills to help Gutzon Borglum on Mount Rushmore. That year Korczak also won first prize for his Carrara marble portrait, “PADEREWSKI, Study of an Immortal,” at the New York World’s Fair. Chief Standing Bear read news reports of Korczak’s achievements and invited him to create a mountainous tribute to the North American Indians. - Henry Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Chief who invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to carve a memorial honoring all North American Indians. - On June 3, 1948 the first blast on the Mountain took place. Five survivors of the Battle of the Little Bighorn attended. - Korczak and wife Ruth had 10 children, five girls and five boys. Four of the 10 children and many of the 23 grandchildren still work on the project. - The Crazy Horse Memorial complex is open year-round and work continues on the Mountain throughout the year! Theyhost over ONE MILLION visitors per year! - The Memorial does not accept federal or state funding. The project is financed by admissions and contributions. Overall, the stop was a moving experience for us all. The movie we watched about the Lakota people brought us to tears, but we were granted comfort knowing there are people in this world who understand the plight of those who lived here before us. During the movie some comments struck us, we thought you'd like to be enlighten as well: "My lands are where my dead lie buried." [Crazy Horse] "My chefs and I would like the white men to know that the red men have great heroes also." {Standing Bear] “The Important thing is that we never stop. That’s the main thing. And if you looked at it as strictly a view of being finished, you could get awfully distracted waiting for that day to come. This way, you’re pleased with every little step of progress that you make.” [The Ziolkowski Family]

“When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.” [Korczak Ziolkowski]