Published: August 17th 2007August 10th 2007
An action packed day! All three sights are close to Sturgis and Rapid City (where we stayed, yet again, with a kind and generous relative). The Mount Rushmore carvings were begun in 1927 and finished in 1941, and represent four of America’s most famous presidents - George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln (the jury is out as to whether current president George Bush will be added at a later date). The statues were originally planned to be full portraits, but funding ran out and so the finished sculptures are head and shoulders only. Mount Rushmore is controversial with Native Americans because the area was seized from them after the Black Hills War in 1876-7. In 1948 work was begun on a sculpture of the war Chief Crazy Horse, at the request of Native American chiefs who “would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too." Crazy Horse led the Lakota tribe at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. Only the face of the sculpture is finished, and if and when it is finally completed it will be the biggest sculpture in the world. It is funded from private sources, and the
sculptor famously turned down $10 million in federal funds, twice, because he felt the government would not complete the project. The project is now managed by the late sculptor’s family. The finished memorial is intended to include a University and medical training centre for Native Americans. Although this is meant to be a monument to the Native American, there is some resistance among them, particularly to the sculpture which is actually carved on one of their most sacred sites.
There are more photos below