Starting the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Scholarship Program
Henry Standing Bear was a strong proponent of education. As a result, he, with the support of many of his fellow leaders, invited sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to the Black Hills to carve a memorial of Oglala Lakota Crazy Horse, Standing Bear’s maternal cousin. Standing Bear believed that such a memorial could serve as a means of educating the world about American Indians. Likewise, Korczak believed that education was an important tool that young people could use to improve their lives. After working on the carving for several years, Korczak envisioned the memorial as a means of reconciliation and a funding source for American Indians wishing to pursue education. Ultimately, the beliefs of these two men converged into a single vision in the form of the mountain carving itself — forever linking them to each other and to the work of providing education for and about American Indians. In keeping with this history, Ruth and Korczak Ziolkowski and the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation Board of Directors started the scholarship program in 1978 with the awarding of a single scholarship of $250 to an American Indian student. Korczak called it a “modest effort now toward the future, long-range educational goals of Crazy Horse.” Since that first scholarship was awarded, The Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, has been making a difference in the lives of American Indian students striving to meet their education goals. Through revenue generated by visitors’ admissions to the Memorial and through the generous donations of thousands of friends and supporters, American Indian and non-Indian alike, the scholarship program has experienced tremendous growth since its inception. To date, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation has awarded well over $2 million dollars in scholarships to American Indian students.
The Foundation awards multiple scholarships each year to American Indians who are attending or who are planning to attend various institutions within the state of South Dakota, including universities, technical, vocational, and nursing schools, as well as a number of tribal colleges such as Oglala Lakota College and Sitting Bull College. Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation distributes scholarship funds to individual institutions and these institutions process applications and award recipients. Scholarships vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the specific award and the institution awarding the scholarship. Students interested in scholarship opportunities are encouraged to contact the financial-aid office at their chosen institution.
In addition to scholarships awarded through South Dakota institutions of higher education, the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation also awards a number of scholarships to participants of the Indian University of North America summer program. Some of these scholarships include the Al Neuharth scholarship – named for the charismatic founder of USA Today, the Anne Ziolkowski Christensen scholarship – named to honor the late beloved daughter of Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski, and the Rosebud Yellow Robe scholarship — named to honor the Lakota woman who worked tirelessly during her life in New England to educate non-Indians about American Indian people and culture. Ultimately, the scholarship program, with the ever-increasing support from friends and donors from across the world, continues to grow — thus proving to be one of the facets of the overarching humanitarian and educational goals of the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation and part of the lasting legacy of Chief Henry Standing Bear and Korczak and Ruth Ziolkowski . . .
This article is the nineteenth installment of a periodic chronology that will be published by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation on the history of the Memorial.
By: Dr. Jason Murray for the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation