Accessibility Tools

12 April 2024
Alan Morris at the Crazy Horse Memorial.

The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills in Custer County, South Dakota. It will depict the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse & pointing into the distance.

Crazy Horse Memorial.

The   Crazy Horse Memorial was commissioned by Henry Standing Bear, a Lakota elder, to be sculpted by Korczak Ziolkowski. The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit organisation, operates it.

The memorial master plan includes the mountain carving monument, an Indian Museum of North America, and a Native American Cultural Center. The monument is carved out of Thunderhead Mountain, on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota, between Custer and Hill City, roughly 17 miles from Mount Rushmore. The sculpture's final dimensions are planned to be 641 feet wide & 563 feet high. The head of Crazy Horse will be 87 feet high. The heads of the four Presidents at   Mount Rushmore are each 60 feet high.

The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from complete. Crazy Horse resisted being photographed & was deliberately buried where his grave would not be found. Ziolkowski envisioned the monument as a metaphoric tribute to the spirit of Crazy Horse & Native Americans. Crazy Horse reportedly said, ´My lands are where my dead lie buried.´ His extended hand on the monument is said to symbolise that statement.

My visit to Crazy Horse.

When we got to the Crazy Horse Memorial, we were only given 90 minutes to look around & couldn't go any closer to the monument than the visitor centre. I wish we had had more time here, I would have loved to get up close to the monument. I know that guided tours will take you right up to the monument.

We had gone to Mount Rushmore the previous day on this escorted tour, & the Crazy Horse Monument dwarfed it. We were told that the US government has offered money to finish the work on the Monument, but the Lakota Indians have refused it, wanting to finish it themselves & keep it under their control.

  Photos from the Crazy Horse Memorial.