American Bison Exhibit

Learning about the American Bison
At Crazy Horse Memorial

09082015BisonExhibitPhotosCHMAMAs her father watches, a young curly-haired girl stands transfixed by the sight before her.  With mouth agape, the seven-year old cautiously leans in and then stops, motionless, eye-to-eye with the large, horned bison.  After a close inspection of the large animal, the girl’s expression of curious awe slowly transforms into a wide smile of recognition that she turns to share with her father.  The two let go of a collective laugh and then continue browsing the exhibit.  A few moments later, the girl’s father can be seen concentrating intently as he runs his fingers across a luminescent screen – taking in an abundance of information on the history of the American bison.  This was the scene recently in the NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER® at Crazy Horse Memorial.

The NATIVE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL & CULTURAL CENTER®, a distinctive stone building completed in 1996 from rock removed from the Crazy Horse Memorial Mountain Carving, provides a number of unique educational and cultural opportunities geared toward enhancing the visitors' experience at Crazy Horse Memorial.  One of the newest opportunities for visitors includes the Exhibit of the American Bison. This newly-acquired exhibit shares the history of bison throughout North America from prehistoric beginnings to near extinction.  The interactive exhibit also tells of those who helped to save the bison near the end of the 19th-century and explores the cultural significance of the bison to various North American tribes.  Visitors can browse information about the American bison on a user-friendly electronic kiosk and, also, get up close and personal with a taxidermy bison – affectionately known as “Bruno.”  

The father and daughter duo walk hand-in-hand up the winding stairs.  Before reaching the top step, the young girl turns to wave goodbye to her new, four-legged friend.  Realizing that this experience will resonate for years within their family, her father once again smiles.  The pair continues up the stairs and out the door into the bright sunshine-filled afternoon.

Crazy Horse Memorial is a family-friendly destination where American Indians and active members of the United States Military are always admitted free of charge.  The Memorial, which is open 365 days a year, is the center of a multi-faceted Foundation mission, “to protect and preserve the culture, tradition, and living heritage of the North American Indians.”  For more information about Crazy Horse Memorial or any of Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation’s ongoing educational and cultural offerings, please call 605-673-4681.

  • “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


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:
  • 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.