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Published: September 10th 2011
The Crazy Horse Memorial was simply stunning and so moving. The dedication of the sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski and his family is over-whelming.
After his death his wife continued to oversee the project and the whole family are involved (he had 10 children!). They believe the project should be funded through public donations from people who believe in what they are doing and have twice refused to accept government funding. Feeling it would undermine the principles of the site and that their plans would not be realised.
The film they show, shows how he was written to by Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear who heard of him after he won 1sp prize at the 1939 New York’s Worlds Fair. He invited him to the Black Hills to carve Crazy Horse so that the white man would know that the Red man has great heroes also.
Korczak left very detailed plans of the project as he knew that it was larger than any one persons lifetime. The film documented how he arrived with very little money, slept in a tent and worked by himself on the memorial, carrying all his gear up the mountain and up ladders on his own.
Crazy Horse Memorial
Model of what the finished sculpture will look like, it has taken 60 years so far to do what you can see
It was an incredible endeavour, a testament to the man as well as the Indian people. Tears began leaking out of my eyes!
The visitor’s centre is made up of donations from all over the world – how someone in Germany ended up with Sitting Bull’s headdress is beyond me and must be a tale in its own right!
I was particularly struck by the photographs taken by Edward S Curtis of the Native Indians, their daily life and ceremonies, so evocative and natural a real snapshot of their lives and culture.
As you can tell I was blown away by the place and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in Indian culture and who is visiting the USA.
When Crazy Horse was Jeeringly asked by a white man ‘where are your lands now’ he replied
‘MY LANDS ARE WHERE MY PEOPLE LIE BURIED’
I’m overwhelmed once again.
We then went on to visit Mt. Rushmore and perhaps on reflection we should have gone here first. It was so pristine and sanitized. Although a national monument – so should be free, you have to pay $11 to park and there only is one place to
park! Yes it is a stunning piece of work but when you watch the film about how it was made it only emphasises what an amazing endeavour Crazy Horse is! Here whole teams of men worked the site dynamiting and preparing the area and rock for the sculptor to work unlike one man doing it all by himself. The whole film was God Bless America and aren’t we great! No mention of the downside – how we got here, what we took and did to the native peoples to get what we wanted. So if you are going to visit Mt. Rushmore do it first, it is amazing and perhaps you won’t be quite as jaded in your outlook as me!
As we are staying down the road from it we decided to visit Sturgis on the way back, as everywhere in Deadwood they are selling the Sturgis Rally memorabilia and of course it is a biking legend. All I can say is you best visit when the rally is on, the pictures of the bikes all parked along either side and down the centre of the Main Street looked fantastic!! Now it is virtually empty, most of the
shops were closed up, those that were open were selling off the Rally ’11 T shirts etc for half price and the even older ones (’02) we saw for 2 dollars. We only saw 2 bikes but nice to see that one was an original Harley and not the armchair tourers that everyone seems to have.
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