The Inspiring Story of The Crazy Horse Memorial, Along With Its Native American Museums, Educational and Cultural Centers

The Crazy Horse Memorial is the world's largest mountain carving project and is located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The sculpture, when finished, will depict Crazy Horse, the famous Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The project is operated by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation who's mission is to protect and preserve the culture, tradition and living heritage of the North American Indians. It is a remarkable and sometimes controversial project who's story is as monumental as it's scope. The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is still far from completion. If completed, it will become the world's largest sculpture

When sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski - Story Teller in Stone - arrived at Crazy Horse he was almost 40. He willingly dedicated the rest of his life to keeping his promises to Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear the American Indian people. Korczak arrived in the Black Hills on May 3, 1947. He worked on the project until his death on October 20, 1982, at age 74.

During his nearly 36 years of working on the mountain, he refused to take any salary at Crazy Horse Memorial all the while enduring the decades of financial hardship and racial prejudice he encountered trying to create an American Indian memorial in the Black Hills. Without Korczak, his wife Ruth and others of his remarkable family, who continue to carry on Korczak’s work to this day, there would be no Crazy Horse Memorial, where, since 1947, the construction has never stopped. Korczak Ziolkowski's life and work are an inspiration to many, especially to young peoples and to mr. mud.

The Indian Museum of North America, designed to complement the story being told in stone on the adjacent mountain, is home to an extraordinary collection of art and artifacts reflecting the diverse histories and cultures of the American Indian people. Korczak and his family designed and built it during the harsh winter of 1972-73 when no work was possible on the mountain. In keeping with Korczak’s do-it-yourself philosophy, the family did all aspects of the construction, holding cost to a minimum.

Because education is the key to future success of Native American youth The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is committed to taking an active role in their educational endeavors by providing educational and cultural programming throughout the year. In addition, Crazy Horse University opened on June 9th for its third summer session. Endowment gifts privately fund the university’s operation, maintaining the Memorial’s goal to not use government money. The university has a unique academic partnership with the University of South Dakota who's staff recruit and educate the students.

Ariel view of the Crazy Horse Memorial campus and mountain carving project