Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Other Mountain of Tribute in South Dakota

Crazy Horse Memorial - face is completed; the white paint designates the 45 ft. ear
and 16 ft. wide eye of the 22 story-high horse. SOOC (straight of the camera)
taken from the parking lot at the Welcome Center.
Welcome Center
Husband's Photo
Prototype with Mountain Carving Progress on Mountain
in Background. Made from Viewing Veranda
I started to name this post: Dueling Mountains, but I have already posted Mount Rushmore, a tribute to four Presidents. This post is about Crazy Horse Memorial, a mountain sculpture tribute to the culture, traditions and heritage of American Indians; in particular the spirit of a legendary Lakota leader, Crazy Horse (Tasunke Witko).The Crazy Horse Memorial, when finished, will stand 641 feet long and 563 feet high, exceeding Mt. Rushmore. In fact it is claimed to be the world's largest carving.

Mt. Rushmore inspired Chief Henry Standing Bear and Lakota leaders, that "red men have great heroes also." They chose sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to create the statue of Crazy Horse. Korczak had won 1st prize at New York's World Fair for his sculpture: PADEREWSKI: Study of an Immortal in 1939.

Before his death in 1982 Korczak did much more than rough out the contours of the carving, starting in 1948. He established a museum and a scholarship fund for American Indian students. He inspired his wife and 7 of his 10 children to continue the memorial's mission with a non-profit Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation. He twice refused federal funding as he believed the intersted public should build the memorial.

The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation is the heart not only of completing the sculpture, but starting the university courses, a Cultural center, enlarging the Indian Museum of North America, opened the Indian University of North America and its first student Living and Learning Center in 2010. The Scholarship Fund of the Foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million since Korczak's original $250 in 1978.

Funding is entirely by visitor admissions and donations. No federal or state funds have been given to this massive project! It is a non-profit, education and cultural project financed primarily from an admission fee.

On the grounds of the memorial is Korczak's studio, home and workshop; Indian museums and Native American Cultural Center. There are optimistic plans for a medical training center to diseases peculiar to the Native American.

In an excerpt from an article by Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski about Crazy Horse, the Indian leader insofar as can be determined never signed a treaty or touched a pen. Crazy Horse was born on Rapid Creek in the Black Hills of South Dakota, about 1842. He died by a stab in the back by an American soldier, Sept. 6, 1877 at approx. age of 35 at Fort Robinson, Nebraska which was under a flag of truce.

The statue depicts Crazy Horse with his left hand thrown out pointing. Someone derisively asked him, after the government agents and army defeated the Lakota tribes, "where are your lands now." He replied , with his outstretched arm is pointing to the plains, "My lands are where my dead lie buried."

He lost his leader Conquering Bear who was exterminated by treachery. A treaty guaranteeing Black Hills (Paha Sapa) would forever be the land of the Sioux was broken. Government agents' promises included meat, clothing tents--all necessities for existence were worthless; the deceit was only realized after they relinquished their lands and retreated to the reservation located in the southern part of the Badlands--near worthless land. His people's lives were ravaged and destroyed.

In 1891 another Lakota, Red Cloud, said, "They made us many promises, more than I can remember--The never kept but one: they promised to take our land, and they took it."

I loved this place, maybe because I have a little native American (Cherokee) in me, but not of the so-called plains tribes. I loved the Indian Museum of North America, The Native American Cultural Center (friendly Native American artists and craftsman plied their trades here) and the sculptor's studio home. I would have loved to spend an entire day here absorbing the culture.

Before I end I must tell the story of the blue beads. There is a huge room of beads on exhibit and to sell. However, there a case enclosing a string of blue beads with a story that only a few were made, and sold. Until all the beads are together again, the monument will never be completed. These beads were used by fur traders doing business with Native Americans. It is said Manhattan was bought with similar beads. However, many consider all of this a legend.

Because of a large number of photos I have created a FLICKR slideshow. Click on FLICKR link in previous sentence and select (click on) slideshow in upper right of screen. Some of photos in this post are also there. But 16 photos a bit much for a post.

Further today Blogger will not let me put the photos on this post where I want them nor can I move them around. And the new composing window is difficult to see and read with stuff scattered all over the web site, not designed for a neophyte like me.

PHOTOS by NitWit1, unless otherwise identified.

Information garnered from our Road Scholar Guide, Exploring The Black Hills and Badlands (The Great American Road Trip), Rapid City Visitors Guide, Crazy Horse Brochure (Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation) and Internet.


Pat - Arkansas said...

An interesting report. The sculpture is beautiful; I can only imagine the wonder of the finished project.

Arkansas Patti said...

That will be amazing if ever finished. The stories of how the American Indians were treated often make me ashamed to be white.
Their treatment will forever rank as one of our colossal failures.

Liz said...

that is a huge challenge!

Wishing you a healthy and wonderful 2012.
Liz x

Ginny said...

Thank you for the wonderful post about one of my favorite places. I fell in love with South Dakota over ten years ago and every summer I plan to go back, but never do. This is the third time this week that it has come up. My grandmother always used to tell us that the week between Christmas and New Year held clues for the upcoming year. I think SD must be in the cards for me in 2012. Threes the charm, right? I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and a very happy healthy new year ahead.

Nezzy said...

I had some curriculum on Mt. Rushmore and Crazy House that entertained our classroom for about a month. I've always wanted to visit.

Loved your pictures and very informative post sweetie.

God bless ya and enjoy this beautiful day as 2011 comes to a close.

Grandma Yellow Hair said...

Isn't this beautiful. I have been reading about the sculpture and so glad you shared this with us.
Glad you were able to see such beauty.
Wanted to come by honey and wish you a very Happy New Year
Love ya

Lisa said...

WOW! What an amazing post! It is shameful to think of how the Indians were treated. I hope we remember and learn from the past. Your pictures are beautiful!!! I'm off to see your flickrs. :) Have a wonderful New Year!