Because of several factors, such as the uncertainty of the weather, the availability of financing and the challenges of the mountain engineering, there is no way to predict a completion date for the mountain carving. When Korczak died on October 20, 1982, his parting words to his wife were, “You must work on the mountain — but go slowly so you do it right.” Crazy Horse Memorial is a project that will never end, even after the mountain carving is complete. The Ziolkowski family and the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation are dedicated to making careful and steady progress on all of the Memorial’s humanitarian goals as well as on the mountain carving.
Native American leaders chose Crazy Horse for the mountain carving because he was a great and patriotic hero. Crazy Horse’s tenacity of purpose, his modest life, his unfailing courage, and his tragic death set him apart and above the others.
He is a hero not only because of his skill in battle, but also because of his character and his loyalty to his people. He is remembered for how he cared for the elderly, the ill, the widowed and the children. His dedication to his personal vision caused him to devote his life to serving his people and to preserving their valued culture.
Crazy Horse died young, his life tragically cut short. His spirit, however, remains as a role model of selfless dedication and service to others. Today, his values and his story serve as an inspiration for people of all races.
“My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, also.” — Henry Standing Bear, 1939
When completed the Crazy Horse mountain carving will be 641 feet long by 563 feet high. Crazy Horse’s completed head is 87 feet 6 inches high. The horse’s head, currently the focus of work on the mountain, is 219 feet or 22 stories high.
Korczak believed that if the public accepted the goals of Crazy Horse Memorial, they would support it financially. He believed in individual initiative and private enterprise. Korczak wanted to ensure the long-range goals of the Memorial, not just the mountain carving.
Crazy Horse Memorial is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation. Contributions to the organization are tax deductible under IRS rules.
Many people find that seeing the orientation DVD, exploring the Indian Museum of North America and contemplating the Crazy Horse mountain carving all take more time than they expect. It is not unusual for visitors to stay for two to four hours. Some people spend the entire day.
Plan to see the 20-minute orientation DVD presentation, Dynamite & Dreams, the Indian Museum of North America, the sculptor’s studio-home and workshop, and the Native American Educational & Cultural Center. You will want to explore the Korczak’s Heritage gift shop for Crazy Horse souvenirs, as well as for many one-of-a-kind pieces of art and jewelry made by Native Americans. During the summer season, you will have an opportunity to visit with many Native American artists and crafts people who create their artwork at the Memorial. To satisy your hunger, you can try either the full-service Laughing Water Restaurant or the snack shop.
The admission fees are the primary source of revenue for the construction on the mountain and operation of the visitor complex. Current admission fees can be found on the “Admissions Fees and Hours of Operation” page.
The Volksmarch is held the first full weekend in June. Volksmarchers can begin their hike by registering between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. (MT) either Saturday or Sunday. Hikers must be off of the trail by 4 p.m. During the Volksmarch weekend the Crazy Horse complex opens at 6 a.m. Breakfast is served these two days in the Laughing Water Restaurant.
Blasts are carefully planned and executed when all conditions are ready. There is no set schedule for these blasts, however. The final decision to conduct each blast is made on a “same-day” basis. Final timing of the blast depends on care and safety on the mountain.
Visitors to the Memorial are advised a few minutes in advance of each blast on the public address system so they may view and photograph the blast.
Korczak and Chief Henry Standing Bear chose the mountain in 1946, because it was suitable rock and because it was on property that could be acquired. The land on which the Memorial is located is owned by the Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. It was pieced together from mining and homestead claims, and land exchanges with the government and other sources.
Korczak depicted Crazy Horse with his left hand pointing in answer to the derisive question asked by a white man, “Where are your lands now?” Crazy Horse replied, “My lands are where my dead lie buried.”
Chief Henry Standing Bear and other Native American elders who invited Korczak to carve Crazy Horse Memorial insisted that the Memorial be located in the Black Hills because they are sacred to the Lakota. They also insisted that the Memorial be named after Crazy Horse because he is a great American Indian hero. Korczak did not intend to depict what Crazy Horse actually looked like. He always answered such questions this way:
“Crazy Horse is being carved not so much as a lineal likeness but more as a memorial to the spirit of Crazy Horse — to his people.” — Korczak