Tributes to Korczak established 30 years ago
The Crazy Horse Memorial mountain crew noted the day with a double blast to help further the rough shaping of the horse’s head.
The tribute dates to 1983 when the South Dakota Legislature unanimously approved a concurrent resolution praising the Crazy Horse Memorial sculptor for his humanitarian contributions in honoring Native Americans. The special legislative recognition responded to Korczak’s unexpectedly death on Oct. 20, 1982.
Korczak moved to the Black Hills on May 3, 1947, at the invitation of Chief Henry Standing Bear and other Lakota elders, who asked him to create the mountain carving honoring Native Americans.
The South Dakota Tourism Department in 1983 also posthumously honored Korczak with the Ben Black Elk Award “for excellence in tourism development.” The sculptor’s colossal carving attracts ongoing international publicity that helps the state’s promotional efforts.
The award is named for the Lakota man who greeted Mount Rushmore visitors for decades. Ben Black Elk and his father, Old Black Elk, were friends of Korczak. Old Black Elk, a cousin of Crazy Horse, who died in 1877, told the sculptor about his relative’s prediction that “I will come back to you in the stone.”