Yuthokeca is the Word in Lakota we Use to Describe Change; to Change Something; Transform

The INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® has grown immensely since the first donation of 65 pieces to the museum was made by Charles Eder. The first wing opened in 1973. The collection has grown to about 10,000 items through many generous donations from families and artists.

As places grow, they change as well. This past September, Janeen Melmer retired as the Director of Cultural Affairs and Museum Registrar. Janeen worked for Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation for over 20 years – starting in the gift shop. As Anne Ziolkowski realized Janeen's skill in archival work, she enlisted Janeen's help to organize and document the Library and Museum collection. Janeen's commitment to the care, development, and display of the Museum collection has made a strong foundation upon which to advance the Museum as we move forward. We will miss Janeen and her dedication to the Museum and the Memorial, but we know she is enjoying retirement.

Four months before Janeen's retirement, Crazy Horse Memorial hired Mary Bordeux as curator and cultural coordinator to learn from Janeen and to move into the position of Museum Curator and Director of Cultural Affairs. Mary is not entirely new to Crazy Horse – as a teenager, she worked at Crazy Horse Memorial when she was in high school and spent four summers working in the gift shop. The Museum was about half the size it is now, and at that young age, Mary had no idea she would be working in museums later in life.

When asked about her memories of Crazy Horse Memorial back then, Mary recalled cleaning the museum glass in the evenings and taking her time to admire the items there. She would wander about moving from case to case with a glass cleaner and a rag looking at the worn leather and the woven textiles. Back then, Mary spent a great deal of time cleaning the cases with moccasins in them, as they are a favorite of hers – any and all old moccasins. When she looked at them then and now, Mary thinks about the people who wore them, where they had been, and what life was like when they were made. If they could talk...the stories they could tell us!

Mary has spent the last fifteen years attending college, completing internships and honing her skill as a museum professional, and learning how to tell those stories. Mary noted, "It has been a long journey returning to the Indian Museum of North America® here at Crazy Horse. I am privileged to have this opportunity to care for and develop the Museum collections, and I am excited, beyond words, to be able to work with the displays in the Museum. I am lucky that Janeen did such a great job of documenting the current collection and preparing the museum for the future."

Donna Zopp, Collections Manager, has been with the Museum for a few years now. Donna has a deep understanding of the collections and is continually enhancing her skills to better care for the art and artifacts.

In addition to Donna, the Memorial employs Museum Assistant, Hillary Presecan. Hillary came to Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation from Anchorage, Alaska, where she recently completed a Smithsonian digital archiving internship with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Hillary's background in archiving and work with Native Alaskan communities adds depth and knowledge to the Museum's staff.

As the INDIAN MUSEUM OF NORTH AMERICA® moves forward, this team of Museum professionals will be part of an exciting transformation – Yuthokeca – to change something; transform!
  • “No one is ever wrong who desires to do that which is not required of them to do — and that which is of a noble purpose. The purpose of Crazy Horse is noble.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes also.”
    Chief Henry Standing Bear
  • “When the legends die, the dreams end. When the dreams end, there is no more greatness.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “The Important thing is that we never stop. That’s the main thing. And if you looked at it as strictly a view of being finished, you could get awfully distracted waiting for that day to come. This way, you’re pleased with every little step of progress that you make.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “One does not sell the earth upon which the people walk.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “By carving Crazy Horse, if I can give back to the Indian some of his pride and create a means to keep alive his culture and heritage, my life will have been worthwile.”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor
  • “He left everything so we can carry on his work, and that’s just what we’re going to do. We’re dedicated to that. His whole life would be wasted if the mountain carving and the humanitarian goals are not completed.”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
    Crazy Horse
  • “If it weren’t for each and every one you, whether your gift was small or large monetarily, whether it was friendship and encouragement, without you we wouldn’t be here…”
    Ruth Ziolkowski / Sculptor's Wife
  • “Standing Bear explained that the Indian has a concept of honoring their great heroes that’s totally different from the white man’s. It was difficult for me to understand at first…The Indian uses the direct approach. He says: that man was my ancestor, and he was a great man, so we should honor him-I would not lie or cheat because I am his blood”
    Korczak Ziolkowski / Sculptor

Crazy Horse Memorial
12151 Avenue of the Chiefs
Crazy Horse, SD 57730-8900

(605) 673-4681

Email: memorial@crazyhorse.org

Upcoming Events

  • Memorial Weekend
    May 25-28

    Memorial Weekend <br />May 26-29,<br /> 2017
    Native American’s across this great nation have served and sacrificed in the United States Military, join us to honor all fallen heroes who fought and protected our freedom. American Indian artists will be featured throughout the Welcome Center. Admission to the Memorial will be waived with 3 cans of food per person.
  • Legends in Light
    May 25-Sep 30

    Legends in Light<br /> May 26-Oct 1<br />
    This spectacular light show tells the story of the Memorial in laser lights projected onto the Mountain. You will be treated to the story of Chief Henry Standing Bear’s invitation to Korczak, Ruth’s contributions and special features of many Native American heroes. This must see show is featured nightly at dark, for sun down times click here: http://www.calendar-updates.com/sun.asp
  • Native Americans’Day
    Oct 8

    Native Americans’ Day  Oct 10, 2016
    Governor George S. Mickelson and the SD legislature declared 1990 as the “Year of Reconciliation”, the day formerly known as Columbus Day became Native American Day. Native American Day at Crazy Horse Memorial is celebrated by planned activities for kids, program and performers, Educator of the Year is awarded and (weather permitting) a mountain blast. Admission is waved to the Memorial with 3 cans of food per person.